Soft Tissue Injury? What are the Healing Phases?

Soft Tissue Injury? What are the Healing Phases?

 

Article by S.Armfield, Z. Russell

How to Manage Your Soft Tissue Injury

Soft tissue injuries are commonly categorised depending on the time frame since injury and the healing processes that are occurring at that time.

Acute – Protection Phase

A soft tissue injury is termed as acute from the initial time of injury and while the pain, bleeding and swelling is at its worst. Your body’s aim at this point is to protect your injury from further damage. The usual time frame for your acute symptoms to settle is two to four days post-injury, but this can vary depending on how you treat your injury.

Acute Soft Tissue Injury Treatment

Sub-Acute – Repair Phase

A soft tissue injury is termed as sub-acute when the initial acute phase makes a transition to repairing the injured tissues. This phase commonly lasts up to six weeks post-injury when your body is bust laying down new soft tissue and reducing the need to protect your injury as the new scar tissue etc begins to mature and strengthen.

Sub-Acute Soft Tissue Injury Treatment

Late Stage – Remodelling Phase

Your body does not magically just stop tissue healing at six week post-injury. Healing is a continuum. At six weeks post-soft tissue injury your healing tissue is reasonably mature but as you stretch, strength and stress your new scar tissue it often finds that it is not strong enough to cope with your increasing physical demand.

When your body detects that a repaired structure is still weaker that necessary, it will automatically stimulate additional new tissue to help strengthen and support the healing tissue until it meets the demands of your normal exercise or physical function.

The period between six weeks and three months post-injury is commonly referred to as the remodelling phase.

Chronic Phase – Ongoing Repair and Remodelling

Beyond three months is referred to as the chronic phase and probably refers mainly to pain that lasts more than 3 months. However, your soft tissue is constantly being injured by your daily activities and workout, only to magically repair and remodel the tissue to meet your specific exercise demands.

How Does Treatment Vary Depending on the Phase?

Your treatment will vary depending upon the needs and demands of your injury. Your physiotherapist is an expert in the diagnosis and treatment of soft tissue injuries and the best techniques for your specific injury and phase of healing.

Muscle Pain Injuries

Myalgia, 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:

Leg:

Arm:

Haematoma-related Myalgia

Fatigue-related Myalgia

Systemic Causes of Myalgia

More Information: Myalgia

Muscle Strain Treatment

Muscle 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.
Muscle strain can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks to rehabilitate successfully. Please seek the advice of your physiotherapist, doctor or your health care practitioner who specialises in muscle injuries eg massage therapist, to guide your treatment.

Common Treatments for Muscle Strain

The 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

Later Stage Muscle Strain Treatment Options

Other Factors to Consider

General Information

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