If ligaments do not heal within several weeks, they may remain chronically stretched, torn, or strained. Many people do not realize how severe or prolonged ligament pain can be. They assume that soft tissue will heal or that it can’t be that bad. While ligament pain may be confined to the injury site, it can also refer pain to distant body parts through a portion of the autonomic nervous system called the sympathetic nerves.
The region that a ligament refers pain to is called a sclerotome (see figures). Ligament pain can mimic nerve impingement, cause sensations of numbness, and be the source of arthritis pain. It can be chronic, persistent, achy, burning, and weather sensitive.