Soft tissue damage is damage that commonly occurs due to a soft tissue injury. It affects different muscles, ligaments and/or tendons. In majority of cases the injuries associated with soft tissue damage include sprain, strain, contusion and injuries connected with overuse of certain parts of the body. Soft tissue damage typically leads to pain, swelling of the affected area, skin discoloration (bruising) and temporary loss of function.
Depending on the severity of the injury damage may affect only epithelial tissue or spread to deeper structures including muscular tissue, nervous or connective tissue.
More on Soft Tissue Damage
Soft tissue damage may develop in different forms. The most common ones are strain, sprain and contusion. In case of a strain, damage affects a muscle or a tendon and it is often a consequence of overuse and repeated overstretching. This injury affects many athletes as well as people who are not engaged in sports. A sprain is an injury that occurs due to twisting or wrenching of ligaments. The most commonly injured parts of the body include the foot, knee or ankle. And finally, a contusion is an injury in which trauma to capillaries allows the blood to seep into the surrounding tissues. This injury leads to bruising.
All soft tissue injuries can be graded into three categories. In case of the first degree damage there is only slight overstretching of muscles or ligaments. The condition features with mild pain that typically increases with movement of the affected muscles or ligaments. Small tears of muscles are characteristic for the second degree damage. This is why affected structures (muscles) partially lose their function and in some cases the nearby joints lose their stability. In the third degree damage there is a complete rupture of the affected tissue accompanied by intensive symptoms and signs and significant functional loss of the injured structures.
Treatment for Soft Tissue Damage
Soft tissue damage can be easily recognized. Still, it may be important to visit a doctor who will perform certain tests and exams in order to rule out bone damage (bone fractures) which carries more risk of complications and requires special treatment.
The goal of treatment for soft tissue damage is pain relief and increase in mobility of the injured part of the body. Rest is an essential part of the treatment. Many patients may benefit from application of cold compresses and elevation of the injured part of the body. Pain is brought under control with prescribed or over-the-counter pain killers. And finally, in order to prevent further damage, one should avoid application of heat, massage, intake of alcohol etc. during the first few days after the injury.