Soft tissue injury is an injury to any of the soft tissues of the body. The most common soft tissues injured are muscles, tendons, and ligaments. These injuries often occur during sports and exercise activities, but sometimes simple everyday activities can cause an injury.
Sprains, strains, and contusions, as well as tendinitis and bursitis, are common soft-tissue injuries. Even with appropriate treatment, these injuries may require a prolonged amount of time to heal.
Soft-tissue injuries fall into two basic categories: acute injuries and overuse injuries.
- Acute injuries are caused by a sudden trauma, such as a fall, twist, or blow to the body. Examples of an acute injury include sprains, strains, and contusions.
- Overuse injuries occur gradually over time, when an athletic or other activity is repeated so often, areas of the body do not have enough time to heal between occurrences. Tendinitis and bursitis are common soft-tissue overuse injuries.
Treatment will vary depending upon the needs and demands of your injury. Physiotherapists will conduct an evaluation which would involve getting your medical history, prior level of activity, mechanism of injury and your goals for post recovery. The physical examination will include an assessment of range-of-motion, depending on the nature of the injury, strength and biomechanics.
Treatment Modalities may include:
- Joint mobilisation
- TENS Machine
- Electrical Stimulation
- Magnetic Field Therapy
- Trigger Point Therapy
- Dry Needling
- Supportive Taping & Strapping
- Exercise prescription
- Specific Stretching Exercises
- Strengthening Exercises: Localised and Global (eg Core Stability and Adjacent Muscle Groups)
- Proprioceptive Retraining
- Biomechanics Correction
- Function or Sports-Specific Rehabilitation
Soft tissue injury is painful and requires physiotherapy intervention. It is important to rest the part and give it time to heal. Athletes are often reluctant to do this and continue to train despite pain and injury. This is unwise, as the injury can be exacerbated and take a longer time to heal these tissues to optimal function.