Soft tissue injury
A soft tissue injury (STI) is the damage of muscles, ligaments and tendons throughout the body. Common soft tissue injuries usually occur from a sprain, strain, a one off blow resulting in a contusion or overuse of a particular part of the body.
A sprain is a type of acute injury which results from the stretching or tearing of a ligament. Depending on the severity of the sprain, the movement on the joint can be compromised since ligaments aid in the stability and support of joints. Sprains are commonly seen in vulnerable areas such as the wrists, knees and ankles. They can occur from movements such as falling on an outstretched hand or a twisting of the ankle or foot.
The severity of a sprain can be classified:
• Grade 1: Only some of the fibers in the ligament are torn, and the injured site is moderately painful and swollen. Function in the joint will be unaffected for the most part.
• Grade 2: Many of the ligament fibers are torn, and pain and swelling is moderate. The functionality of the joint is compromised.
• Grade 3: The soft tissue is completely torn, and functionality and strength on the joint is completely compromised. In most cases, surgery is needed to repair the damage.
A strain is a type of acute injury that occurs to the muscle or tendon. Similar to sprains, it can vary in severity, from a stretching of the muscle or tendon to a complete tear of the tendon from the muscle. Some of the most common places that strains occur are in the foot, back of the leg (hamstring), or back.
A contusion is the discoloration of the skin, which results from underlying muscle fibers and connective tissue being crushed.This can happen in a variety of ways such as a direct blow to the skin, or a fall taken against a hard surface. The discoloration in the skin is present when blood begins to pool around the injury.
Tendinitis is a type of overuse injury to the tendons, which demonstrates signs of inflammation of tendons around a joint. Tendinitis is the most common cause of shoulder pain and also leg pain . Tendinitis occurs when there is repetitive stress on the subacromial bursa, which causes the bones to make contact with the tendons and irritate them.
Bruising is a type of acute soft tissue injury Any type of injury that occurs to the body through sudden trauma, such as a fall, twist or blow to the body. A few examples of this type of injury would be sprains, strains and contusions.
An overuse injury occurs when a certain activity is repeated frequently and the body does not have enough time to recover between occurrences. Examples include bursitis and tendinitis.
If severe pain persists after the first 24hours it is recommended that an individual consult with a professional who can make a diagnosis and implement a treatment plan so the patient can return to everyday activities. To make a full diagnosis, a professional may use nerve conduction studies to localize nerve dysfunction (e.g. carpal tunnel syndrome), assess severity, and help with prognosis. Electrodiagnosis also helps differentiate between myopathy and neuropathy. Ultimately, the best method of imaging soft tissue is magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), though it is cost-prohibitive and carries a high false positive rate.
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