At some point in our lives, almost all of us will experience some form of soft tissue injury. When one does occur, it is imperative to rapidly get the care you need to avoid any unessecary secondary ailments. Here are the most common symptoms of a soft tissue injury.
Injuries that occur in the soft tissues throughout the body, such as muscles, tendons, and ligaments, are referred to as “Soft Tissue Injuries.” These injuries include:
- Sprains / Strains - a partial tear to a ligament/ injury to a muscle or tendon
- Contusions - a bruise from blunt force
- Tendonitis - inflammation of a tendon
- Bursitis - inflammation of the bursa, a fluid-filled sac providing cushioning between bones and muscles or tendons
Soft tissue injuries can be caused by acute trauma such as a fall or blow or by chronic trauma resulting from repeated movements over a period of time. Recognizing the symptoms of a soft tissue injury is key to seeking treatment and preventing further injury.
Recognizing Soft Tissue Injuries
Soft tissue injuries are not uncommon for athletes and can occur during sports or training, but sometimes everyday activities can also result in these injuries. Understanding the symptoms of soft tissue injuries is crucial in determining whether to seek care, preventing further trauma, managing pain, and returning to regular activities as soon as possible.
Identifying Soft Tissue Injuries
Soft tissue injuries resulting from acute trauma are much easier to recognize as you will be monitoring for symptoms after a sudden fall or blow. Injuries resulting from chronic overuse may not be as obvious, manifesting slowly over time. Regardless of the source of injury, there are some common symptoms associated with soft tissue injuries:
- Pain: This is the most obvious symptom of an injury. Watch for new or intensifying pain at the site of the injury.
- Swelling: Swelling might occur immediately or may develop over several hours.
- Bruising or Discoloration: Bruising is a result of bleeding and damage to the blood vessels under the skin. Bruising can occur right at the site of the injury but also in surrounding areas as the blood moves away from the point of impact.
- Muscle Spasms/Muscle Weakness: These are the muscles' involuntary reactions to injury and a protective mechanism to further injury. Spasms can also result from an overcompensatory favouring of specific muscles to avoid pain.
- Inability to Bear Weight/Use the Injured Part as Normal: Pain prevents the ability to bear weight and use parts such as fingers, arms, legs normally due to restricted ability to move.
- Joint Instability: weakened or injured muscles, ligaments, and tendons inhibit the regular movement and functions of joints.
- Limited Range of Motion: The joint or body part cannot move through its normal range of movement.
- Abnormal Sensations: Numbness, tingling, hot, or cold feelings at or near the injury site.
- Abnormal Look to Injured Part: A lump, knot, or distorted appearance could indicate a fracture or dislocation as the cause of the injury.
Identifying the symptoms of soft tissue injuries early will give you more treatment options and allow for quicker healing times. Some very minor soft tissue injuries are fine with a “wait-it-out” approach. However, ignoring symptoms or waiting too long to seek treatment could result in complications like excessive bleeding and blood vessel damage, nerve damage, persistent joint problems, and more.
See your doctor when:
- Your injury is not improving within 3-5 days
- There is increased redness, bruising, or swelling at the site of the injury
- Your injury is inhibiting your ability to function in your daily life
- You develop a fever
Treatment Plans For Pain-Free Living
You do not need to allow the effects of a soft tissue injury to inhibit your ability to live fully. The team at Shephard Health is committed to the well being of our patients. We recognize that each individual requires a specific treatment plan and corrective measures to address the symptoms of soft tissue injury. We believe in a whole-person approach to wellness and a collaborative model to providing injury care. If you are struggling with pain, discomfort, loss of function, or chronic numbness due to a soft tissue injury, Shephard health offers multiple treatment modalities. Contact us now to learn how our innovative therapeutic services and chiropractic care can help you attain healing and reach your physical goals.