What are Soft Tissue Injuries?

22 August 2017

Do you frequently suffer from sprains, strains, bursitis or tendonitis in a particular area of the body? All four of these conditions are examples of soft tissue injuries and are caused by trauma or overuse. Find out more about this group of injuries with our handy guide so you know exactly what to do to prevent the injuries from occurring.

What are Soft Tissue Injuries?

"Soft tissue injuries" is a blanket term for a number of different conditions. A soft tissue injury is when the tissue in your body (i.e. your muscles, ligaments and tendons) is damaged. These injuries are usually the result of playing sports or leading an active lifestyle.

Causes of the Condition

These injuries occur when your muscles, tendons or ligaments are damaged or overworked. Soft tissue injuries fall into one of two categories: acute injuries or overuse injuries. Acute injuries are caused by trauma like falling or twisting your body suddenly and include sprains and contusions.

Overuse injuries, on the other hand, occur when a certain motion is repeated often and the body can't heal between each occurrence. For example, if you were to run a marathon just a matter of days after a half marathon, this is likely to result in an overuse injury as you're using the same muscles, tendons and ligaments for long periods of time over just a few days. Overuse injuries include tendonitis or bursitis.

Signs and Symptoms of Soft Tissue Injuries

The signs and symptoms you experience will vary depending on the type of soft tissue injury you have. For the most part, soft tissue injuries cause pain and discomfort in the affected area. Swelling is also another common symptom, and this might cause stiffness in the area. Your skin could also bruise a day or two after the trauma or overuse injury occurs.

When you've severely damaged the soft tissue around a joint, you might experience instability. This is particularly true for weight-bearing joints like your ankle, and if you've suffered from ligament damage this will make the joint less stable.

Treatment Options

If the area has undergone severe trauma, it's vital that you seek immediate medical attention for a diagnosis. If you aren't able to put weight on the injury; there was a pop or crack when you were injured; or the area has an unusual shape, visiting your nearest A&E is a must.

If the injury isn't too severe, you should be able to treat it from the comfort of your own home. Simply follow the PRICE method outlined below:

  1. Protection: use a support on the area to protect it from further injury.
  2. Rest: avoid activities that will cause pain in the area (e.g. walking or holding objects).
  3. Ice: use an ice pack or support on the injury for intervals of twenty minutes.
  4. Compression: wrap the area in a dressing or use a brace to prevent further damage.
  5. Elevation: if possible, elevate the injury above your heart while you rest to reduce swelling.

How to Prevent Soft Tissue Injuries

As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure. Some soft tissue injuries can be prevented by following these handy tips:

  • Warm up and cool down sufficiently when you exercise
  • Ensure you rest and recover between sporting events and activities
  • Follow an exercise programme to gradually increase the intensity of the workout
  • Wear protective equipment as and when necessary (e.g. brace, mouth guard, etc.)
  • Drink enough water to prevent dehydration and avoid sudden falls
  • Avoid weekend warrior syndrome (i.e. not exercising during the week and then overdoing it over the weekend)

Soft Tissue Injuries at Wrist Supports

Here at Wrist Supports, we've found the braces that will help either prevent or treat soft tissue injuries. The wrist supports listed are ideal for ticking off the "protection" and "compression" aspects of the PRICE method, or you can use one while you exercise to protect the area from trauma. Click on the button below to see our full range of wrist supports specifically for soft tissue injuries!


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