Soft Tissue Injury Care
Soft Tissue Injuries
What is a Soft Tissue Injury?
By definition, a soft tissue injury is any injury that is within your soft tissues, such as muscle, ligaments, tendons and fascia. In other words, non-bone related injuries.
Soft tissue injuries include:
- Muscle Strains
- Ligament Sprains
- Tendon Injuries eg tendinopathy
- Other Soft Tissue Injuries (eg fat, myofascial tissue, joint capsules, skin and other connective tissue)
Seek Professional Advice
Obviously, the best care is to seek prompt medical attention for an accurate diagnosis and its specific care. However, in the interim, you can follow the following general guidelines.
In the first three days after injury, use the R.I.C.E. method:
- Rest (to avoid pain and further damage)
- Ice (20 to 30 minutes each two to three hours)
- Compression (to support the injury and minimise swelling)
- Elevation (above your heart to assist swelling reduction)
Your chances of a full recovery will be helped if you avoid the H.A.R.M. factors in the first 48 to 72 hours.
What are the HARM Factors?
Heat: Increases swelling and bleeding. Avoid heat packs, a hot bath and saunas.
Alcohol: Increases swelling and bleeding. Plus, it can delay healing.
Running or Exercise: Aggravates the injury which increases pain, swelling and bleeding. Always check with a health professional before resume sport or exercise.
Massage: Increases swelling and bleeding. Direct massage to the injured area may aggravate the damaged tissues and is normally best avoided for the first 48 to 72 hours. Indirect massage (away from the injury site) may be helpful. Please consult your health practitioner for the best advice for your injury.
What is Your Subsequent Treatment?
While the following advice is generic and may vary depending on your injury diagnosis, there are several treatment goals during the subacute phase. These include:
Is it important to ease and safely manage your pain? While natural products such as ice and over-the-counter medications may assist you, the advice of a health professional is the safest option for you to control your pain. In some cases, the use of an electronic device such as a TENS machine may also assist your early pain relief.
Regain Full Movement
A primary aim of treatment, once the initial trauma has settled, is to regain your full joint, ligament and muscle range of motion. Your physiotherapist will identify any abnormalities and provide hands-on treatment and prescribe the relevant exercises to regain normal movement.
It is crucial to support the muscles surrounding your injury via strengthening exercises. This muscle control is important to provide support during the early recovery phase, to prevent re-injury and return you to everyday function and sport. Your physiotherapist will prescribe and progress injury-specific exercises individualised to your needs.
An injury causes nerve pathway damage that affects your ability to control your joint position. The technical name for this is proprioception. Proprioception exercises have been shown in numerous research studies to prevent future injuries. Your physiotherapist is highly-skilled in proprioceptive retraining. They will prescribe specific functional and sport-related proprioceptive exercises.
Heat or Ice
Heat can ease muscle soreness, increase soft tissue extensibility, increase circulation. Ice has also found to be useful even beyond 72-hours post-injury to reduce swelling due to excessive use and to slow your nerve conduction rate to assist pain control. If you would like advice regarding what is most suitable to you, please consult your physiotherapist.
Common Soft Tissue Injury Treatments
Muscle Pain InjuriesMyalgia, or muscle pain, can have many sources. Here are some of the more common sources of your muscle pain. Please click the links for more information.
Muscle Strains By Region
Neck & Back:
Systemic Causes of Myalgia
More Information: Myalgia
Muscle Strain TreatmentMuscle strain treatment will vary depending upon an accurate diagnosis from your health professional. The severity of your muscle strain, and what function or loads your injured muscle will need to cope with, will impact the length of your healing and rehabilitation process. Until you’ve been accurately diagnosed with a muscle strain, use the following guidelines:
- Ice and a compression bandage.
- Elevate the injured region if it is swollen.
- If it’s painful to walk you should be using crutches.
- Cease or reduce your exercise or activity level to where you feel no pain.
Common Treatments for Muscle StrainThe following options are available to your physiotherapist to assist the rehabilitation of your muscle strain. Please seek their professional advice prior to self-managing your injury to avoid aggravating your muscle strain. These are general guidelines only and should not be treated as individual treatment advice.
Acute Muscle Strain Treatment
Subacute Muscle Strain Treatment
- Sub-Acute Soft Tissue Injury Treatment
- Acupuncture and Dry Needling
- Soft Tissue Massage
- Kinesiology Tape
- Supportive Taping & Strapping
- Electrotherapy & Local Modalities
- Heat Packs
Later Stage Muscle Strain Treatment Options
- Foam Roller
- Stretching Exercises
- Strength Exercises
- Closed Kinetic Chain Exercises
- Eccentric Exercises
- Proprioception & Balance Exercises
- Agility & Sport-Specific Exercises
Other Factors to Consider
- Biomechanical Analysis
- Joint Mobilisation Techniques
- Gait Analysis
- Running Analysis
- Video Analysis
- Active Release Technique - ART
- Deep Tissue Massage
- Lymphatic Drainage
- Myofascial Release
- Pregnancy Massage
- Relaxation Massage
- Remedial Massage
- Sports Massage
- Sports Recovery Massage
- Swedish Massage
- Therapeutic Massage
- Trigger Point Therapy