Types of Soft Tissue Injuries
- Sprain: A sprain is a stretch or tear of a ligament. The ligaments are strong bands of tissue that connect bone to bone. The joints most often sustaining ligament damage in accidents are shoulders, wrists, knees, and ankles. The lumbar region of the spine can also sustain a sprain.
- Strains: A strain is an injury to a muscle or tendon. Tendons connect the muscles to the bones. The back, knees, and ankles account for most of the muscle / tendon strains in car accidents or work accidents.
- Contusions: A contusion is a deep bruise, where blood pools around an injury. Left untreated, contusions can cause permanent damage to the tendons, ligaments, and muscles.
- Subluxation: Subluxation is when you have misaligned vertebrae. When this happens it puts pressure on nerves, disrupts the signals to and from the brain, and interferes with the blood supply – which will allow deterioration of the surrounding tendons, ligaments, and muscles.
A blunt injury to soft tissue can produce localized tissue hypoxia (lack of oxygen) and acidosis (increased hydrogen). The integrity of the soft tissue needs to be determined prior to any surgery. An incision through compromised soft tissue can lead to wound breakdown and deep infection.
Treatment of Soft Tissue Injuries
The management and treatment of soft tissue injuries is basically the mnemonic “R-I-C-E”: rest, ice, compression, and elevation. The injured tissue needs to be protected, in some cases splints, braces, or tape is recommended.
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