Soft tissue injuries are most commonly caused by trauma or overuse of muscles, tendons, or ligaments. They also include injuries to the fascia, fibrous tissues, fat, blood vessels, or synovial membranes.
- • Bruising
- • Discoloration
- • Swelling
- • Tenderness
- • Stiffness
- • Pain, often severe
Soft tissue injuries can be brought on by a sudden, extreme effort or by excessive overuse over time. These types of injuries are the most common injuries in sports.
As a soft tissue injury heals, it is important to put no strain on it for the first few days. During this time, the RICE method is a good guide. This process should be observed for the first 48-72 hours following an injury.
Rest – it is important to rest the injured area and to not re-injure or further injure the affected area. Do not continue to do the activity that caused the injury.
Ice – keep ice on and around the affected area. This will help reduce swelling and pain. Do not apply ice directly to skin. Use a towel as a barrier.
Compress – wrap the affected area loosely in an elastic bandage such as an Ace bandage. This will reduce swelling.
Elevation – raise the affected area above your heart. This too will reduce swelling. Use pillows or other objects while rotating ice on and off the soft tissue injury.
While recovering from a soft tissue injury stay away from heat, alcohol, running, or massaging the injured area. All of these actions can delay or prolong the healing process. It can take 1-6 weeks for an injury to fully recover. Age, health, and severity are all factors that affect recovery time. Once an injury has recovered it will be prone to re-injury in the future.
If a soft tissue injury is suspected, visit a healthcare provider, at Urgent Specialists. They will be able to diagnose the injury and recommend the best route to recovery.
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