Soft Tissue Injuries
Soft tissue injuries can occur during the course of everyday life, usually after any sudden fall, jerk, blow to the body, or wanton use or abuse of certain body parts. Soft tissue injuries can include:
- stress injuries (including stress fracture)
What is a sprain?
A sprain is a partial or complete tear of a ligament. The joints of the body are supported by ligaments that connect one bone to another. When the ligament is stretched or torn, it can result in a:
- simple sprain
- partial tear
- complete tear
The areas most vulnerable to sprains are ankles, knees, and wrists. Recommended treatment for a simple sprain is usually Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation (R.I.C.E), but a torn ligament may require surgery.
What is a strain?
A strain is an injury to a muscle or tendon. Bones are supported by a combination of muscles and tendons, which connect muscles to bones. A strain is the result of an injury to either a muscle or a tendon. The strain may be a simple stretch in the muscle or tendon, or it may be a partial or complete tear in the muscle-and-tendon combination.
Recommended treatment for a strain is usually Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation (R.I.C.E), followed by simple exercises to relieve pain and restore mobility. A serious tear may require surgery.
What is contusion?
A contusion is a bruise caused by a blow to the muscle, tendon, or ligament caused by blood pooling around the injury and discoloring the skin. Most contusions are mild and respond well to Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation (R.I.C.E). More serious contusions may need to be seen by a physician.
What is tendinitis?
Tendinitis is inflammation in a tendon or the tendon covering, usually caused by a series of small stresses that repeatedly aggravate the tendon.
Tendinitis is treated with rest to eliminate the stress and possibly anti-inflammatory medication followed by specific exercises to correct imbalance in muscles and restore flexibility. Continued stress to an inflamed tendon could cause it to rupture, which could require a cast or surgery to correct the damage.
What is bursitis?
A bursa is a sac filled with fluid located between a bone and a tendon or muscle. It allows the tendon to slide smoothly over the bone. Repeated small stresses and overuse can cause the bursa to swell and become irritated -- a condition called bursitis. Bursitis often occurs with tendinitis.
Bursitis is treated with rest and anti-inflammatory medication. Sometimes the bursa is directly injected with medication to reduce the inflammation.
What is a stress fracture?
Bones of the lower leg and foot are particularly prone to this condition. A stress fracture occurs when bone is stressed by:
- overuse that causes an injury
- poor muscle balance
- lack of flexibility
- weakness in soft tissues caused by previous injuries
Portions of this article are reprinted, with permission, courtesy of the University of Maryland Medical System.
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