Soft tissue injury is a fairly common type of injury many people hear about on sports channels or from their friends and acquaintances.
What is soft tissue injury?
Soft tissue refers to muscles, ligaments and tendons in the human body. Other injuries may involve bones or internal organs, but then muscles, ligaments and tendons are damaged due to trauma, it is called soft tissue injury.
This type of injury is usually caused by prolonged stress of the joints, tendons and ligaments. This is a common injury among athletes and people who often engage in strenuous physical activity. The common symptoms of soft tissue injury include redness of the injured area, stiffness, limited mobility, tenderness and pain.
Soft tissue injury can be classified as either chronic or acute. Chronic soft tissue injury starts with dull, nagging, mild pain that does not go away and sometimes becomes worse over time. Acute injury, on the other hand, is caused by a sudden impact, fall, collision or twist, and the symptoms set in almost immediately and often suddenly.
The most common types of acute soft tissue injury are sprains, strains, muscle, ligament and tendon tears.
Treatment for acute soft tissue injuries
In treatment of acute soft tissue injury, it is vital to immediately cease any activity that could further aggravate it. If an injury is sustained in a sport activity, it is important to stop, take some rest and relieve the strain upon the affected muscle, joint, tendon or ligament. The injured part of the body should be moved as little as possible.
A person who sustained a soft tissue injury should rest as much as possible. During rest, it is very helpful to ice the area, using ice packs, ice cubes wrapped in a clean cloth or to apply cold compresses. The ice should not be kept on the injured area for too long, otherwise it may interfere with normal blood circulation. It is usually recommended to ice the area for 20 minutes and then make a 20 minutes break before starting again. Ice will reduce redness and pain and speed up the healing of the injury.
For some people it can help to use a sling, to hold the injured area in place and to prevent movement. If the swelling is excessive, the area should be compressed gently, without cutting off the circulation. Elastic compression bandages are very useful for this purpose.
If the pain caused by soft tissue injury is severe, the patient can take pain medication such as ibuprofen or Aspirin.
Healing time depends on the severity of the injury. The time it takes for the symptoms to subside can range anywhere from 48 hours to several weeks.