Soft tissue injuries can affect the muscles, ligaments, and tendons, causing a variety of conditions and symptoms.
A soft tissue injury may be classified as one of the following:
A contusion is an injury to the soft tissue often caused by a blunt force, such as a kick, fall, or blow. Symptoms include pain, swelling, and discoloration due to bleeding into the tissue.
A sprain is a partial tear to a ligament in the ankles, knees, hip, or wrists, and is often caused by a wrench or twist. In contrast, a strain is an injury to a muscle or tendon, typically caused by overuse, force, or stretching.
Tendonitis is inflammation of a flexible band of tissue that connects muscle to bones, called a tendon. Tendonitis is often caused by an overuse injury from repetitive motion. Commonly affected areas include the elbow, hand, wrist, shoulder, hip, knee, ankle, and foot.
Bursitis is the inflammation of a fluid-filled sac, called a bursa, that acts as a cushion between bones and muscles or tendons. Like tendonitis, bursitis is often caused by overuse injury, but can also be caused by direct trauma to a joint. Bursitis is common in the shoulder, elbow, knee, hip, ankle, and foot.
A stress fracture typically occurs in the weight-bearing bones of the lower extremities, including legs, hips, and feet. A small crack in a bone may be caused by overuse and a sudden increase in physical activity.
Treatment for soft tissue injuries will vary depending on the type of injury and its severity. Patients may need to undergo various imaging tests to determine the type of soft tissue injury they have sustained.
Patients with soft tissue injuries may require a treatment plan that includes pain management techniques, joint and soft tissue injections, and occupational medicine. The right approach to treatment will depend on the patient’s level of pain and overall physical condition.
Treatment for soft tissue injuries may incorporate pain management techniques, such as cold and heat therapy, gentle exercise, physical therapy, music therapy, biofeedback, mind-body techniques, therapeutic massage, and occupational therapy to help manage their symptoms. Each patient will receive personalized recommendations from their doctor for managing pain.