Soft tissue damage can occur while indulging in some sports activities like running, jumping, etc., or it can result from the impact of a collision. In this condition, one or more of the soft tissues present in the joints of the body sustain some kind of injuries but there is no bone fracture. Repeated stress to the joints is another contributing factor for this kind of damage.
There are mainly four types of tissues that can get affected. They are the epithelial, muscular, nervous, and connective tissues. The commonly associated symptoms are pain, swelling, discoloration, and bruising on the injury site.
What is Soft Tissue Damage?
➜ Any form of damage to the ligaments, tendons, or muscles is termed as soft tissue damage. It is sometimes referred to as soft tissue injury. The different types of soft tissue injuries include strain, sprain, contusion, bursitis, and tendonitis.
➜ A strain is a form of damage where the muscle or tendon is injured mainly because of overuse or repeated overstretching. In a sprain, the ligament gets affected either when it is twisted or wrenched. Such tissue damage in the feet, knees, or ankles often occurs due to a sprain.
➜ Contusion is also known as a bruise, and it happens when the tissue is being hit by a blunt force that damages the underlying blood vessels. Soft tissue damage resulting from car accidents or a bad fall often results in serious contusions.
➜ A soft tissue injury is graded into 3 different categories depending on the severity of the injury. A first degree damage is caused by a minor injury where the ligament or muscle get slightly overstretched. Here, a mild pain is felt only while stretching the muscles or performing some movement.
➜ In a second degree damage, the stretching is moderate and there are small tears in the fibers of the tissue. As a result, moving the muscles becomes a painful affair, and the muscle may suffer from partial loss of functionality. Even the joints tend to become a bit unstable.
➜ Third degree damage is a severe form of injury where there is a complete rupture of the tissues. It gives rise to severe pain accompanied by instability of the joint and significant loss of functionality.
Treatment Options for Soft Tissue Damage
➜ The first step of diagnosis involves physical examination and studying the medical history of the patient. However, please note that in this injury the damage cannot be detected through X-rays.
➜ Still, an X-ray is conducted in order to rule out the possibility of any fracture. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is the best method to detect any damage in the soft tissues.
➜ The main aim of the treatment is to bring down the pain and improve the mobility of the joint. For the purpose of healing, the injured part should be given adequate amount of rest. This will also prevent any further injury.
➜ Application of ice has a soothing effect on the pain and swelling. However, it should not be applied directly on the skin. It should be wrapped in a piece of cloth so that it does not cause any further damage to the tissue.
➜ It should be followed by compression of the area with tape or elastic bandage to control further swelling. The injured part of the body should be kept in an elevated position to restrict blood flow to that area.
➜ If the pain becomes unbearable, then pain killers are prescribed by the doctors for pain management. For more severe and persistent pain, corticosteroid injections can be administered. If the tissues are badly torn, then surgery is the only option to repair the damage.
When a person suffers from a soft tissue injury, then he or she needs to avoid certain things during the first three days of the injury in order to ensure faster recovery. Heat should not be applied to the injured site as it can aggravate swelling. Massaging should also be strictly avoided as it can worsen the symptoms. One should stay away from alcohol on these days as it delays the healing process.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.