You may try to prevent accidents while engaging in sports, exercise, and recreational activities. Such as stretching regularly, staying hydrated and caring for your joints. But when fate intervenes, an injury may occur.
When it comes to sports and physical activity, soft tissue injury is the most common type of injury that people experience. However, the severity of soft tissue and sports injuries may vary. They generally include muscle and ligament injury, joint sprains, and contusions due to an impact of some kind (like a tackle on the football field)
The best way to manage these injuries is to seek help from your osteopath at Tim Wood Healthcare. They may help ease the pain through their holistic treatment approach.
Here is our guide to managing soft tissue injuries. With 11 effective tips that you can implement yourself! So, let’s get started!
What is soft tissue injury?
Ligaments, tendons, and muscles are all included in soft tissues. They can get injured because of traumatic events such as sprains or strains. When this occurs, your body starts to repair and recover. Common symptoms at this stage include:
- Mild heat
- And more
What is an acute soft tissue injury?
The initial stage of a soft tissue injury is considered the acute phase, which is 48-72 hours after the injury.
How do you manage an acute soft tissue injury?
Pacing your activity levels
Resting the affected area is the first step in managing any soft tissue injury. Stay away from any activities that cause pain or discomfort. Resting allows the injured tissues to begin healing.
However, too much rest can impede your recovery, so start moving as soon as possible. Gradually increase your activity levels as tolerated while being mindful of not over-exerting yourself. Pay attention to any pain or discomfort during and after activity and adjust accordingly to avoid aggravating the injury.
If the injured area is swollen, apply ice to the affected area for 15-20 minutes every 2-3 hours during the first 48-72 hours. Ice helps to reduce pain, swelling, and inflammation. But cover the ice pack in a thin towel to safeguard your skin from ice burns.
You must stop using ice and immediately seek help from an Osteo in Rainham if:
- There is discolouration, redness, or blistering on your skin
- Swelling does not stop, rather continues to worsen
- The affected area becomes red and hot
- You are not able to take any pressure on the injured area
Your osteopath from Tim Wood Healthcare may help treat your injury with manual therapy and other tailored approaches.
Try compression bandages
Use a compression bandage to apply gentle pressure to the injured area. This helps control swelling and provides support to the injured tissues. Make sure the bandage is snug but not too tight to avoid cutting off circulation.
Elevation may help
Elevate the injured limb or area above the level of your heart whenever possible. For example, if you injure your leg, you can prop it up on pillows so it is higher than your heart.
This simple action helps reduce swelling by allowing excess fluid to channel away from the injured site.
When you elevate the limb, gravity helps to pull the fluid downwards, preventing it from pooling around the injury. As a result, swelling is reduced, and the healing process can occur more efficiently.
Avoid heat and alcohol
Heat and alcohol can increase blood flow and swelling, worsening the injury. Avoid hot baths, saunas, and alcohol consumption during the initial stages of healing.
Gentle movement and stretching
Once the initial acute phase has passed, gentle movement and stretching exercises can help improve blood flow, prevent stiffness, and promote healing. Start with simple range-of-motion exercises and gradually progress as you heal.
Chat with an osteopath from Tim Wood Healthcare to know which exercises may help manage your soft tissue injury.
Protect the injury
Using braces, splints, or supportive devices recommended by your osteopath provides external support to the injured area by reducing stress in it. They also help stabilise it and prevent further damage.
These devices work by restricting excessive movement, providing support, promoting proper alignment, and facilitating healing.
Gradual return to activity
As the injury heals, gradually reintroduce activities and exercises. Start with low-impact exercises and gradually increase intensity and duration. Pay attention to your body and stop if you feel any pain or discomfort.
Restorative sleep and a healthy diet
Getting sufficient restorative sleep and maintaining a healthy diet is crucial for supporting the body’s healing process.
A good night’s sleep enables the body to repair damaged tissues.
A balanced diet, rich in vitamins (such as C and D), minerals (for example, calcium and zinc), and protein, provide the building blocks necessary for tissue repair. They also help optimise the healing response.
Depending on the nature and location of the injury, you may benefit from using walking aids or supports. Crutches, walkers, canes, or braces can help offload weight and provide stability, allowing you to move without putting extreme strain on the injured area.
Soft tissue and sports injuries can result in debilitating pain. Sometimes, the patient might not be able to return to daily life because of the pain and discomfort. If you are one of them, do not hesitate to consult your osteopath at Tim Wood Healthcare.
An osteopath may help in soft tissue injuries by providing manual therapy techniques like:
- soft tissue mobilisation
Such treatments may promote healing, restore mobility, reduce pain and inflammation, and improve overall function.
Osteopaths may also provide guidance on lifestyle modifications, exercises, and preventive measures to aid in recovery and prevent future injuries.
If you’ve experienced a soft tissue injury in Maidstone or Rainham, contact your osteopathic team at Tim Wood Healthcare today. Their knowledge and experience will guide you safely on your road to recovery.