Soft tissue injuries such as sprains, strains and bruises can occur to anyone at any time. These injuries can occur during sports, while at work or engaging in hobbies. It is vital that you know how to properly care for soft tissue injuries. Remember that doing the right things after the injury and the days that follow can hasten the recovery.
Close look on soft tissue injuries
- Strains – caused by overstretching or tearing of the tendons or muscles that provide support and movement to a joint. A tendon is a fibrous end of a muscle that attaches to bone. Most cases are usually minor but some can be severe where surgical repair is needed.
- Sprains – caused by overstretching or tearing but affects the ligaments which are strong, fibrous bands that holds the joints together.
- Bruises – occur once a muscle, tendon or ligament endures a blow strong enough to damage the capillaries. As a result, they break open and cause blood to build up beneath the skin and injured tissues. Most cases are minor and heal with home treatment yet some can be severe that it takes weeks or months to fully heal. It can also occur in the vital organs as well.
Depending on the type of soft tissue injury, there are measures that can reduce the pain, alleviate the swelling and hasten the healing process.
How to handle soft tissue injuries
Take a break
Some individuals might continue with activity despite the throbbing pain in the affected body part. The best thing to do once pain occurs is to stop and rest. Apply an ice pack on the injured site for 20 minutes to prevent further injury.
Consult a doctor
Even though most cases of soft tissue injuries are relatively minor and can be easily treated at home, the individual should not hesitate to seek medical care for the injury particularly if the pain is intense and the individual could not move or place any weight on the affected body part.
If the RICE method is delayed, it can result to more swelling and pain as well as a longer recovery period. It is vital to start these measures once an individual sustained an injury.
- Rest – limit the normal daily activities and avoid placing any weight on the affected body part.
- Ice – apply an ice pack on the injured area for 10-20 minutes at a time from 4-8 times in a day. Avoid using the ice pack for more than 20 minutes and make sure that it is covered with a clean towel or cloth.
- Compression – wrap the affected area using an elastic bandage in a secure but not too tight manner.
- Elevation – use cushions or pillows to elevate the affected limb above the level of the heart to reduce the swelling
Pain medications can also be given for soft tissue injuries while the individual waits for the injury to feel better. Acetaminophen or ibuprofen can be used to reduce the pain, swelling and inflammation.