Immediate Management Tips for Soft Tissue Injuries

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Peace & Love

Soft tissue injuries are when trauma or overuse occurs to muscles, tendons or ligaments.

Most soft tissue injuries are the result of a sudden unexpected or uncontrolled movement, like when your foot lands awkwardly and over your ankle. Soft tissue damage can also occur from overuse or chronically fatigued structures, especially muscles and tendons.

When these injuries happen unexpectedly, there are things you can do to help, and this we call PEACE and LOVE.

Listed below are tips to do right away, before seeking help from a physical therapist at #NIHPDurham…

PROTECT

Unload or restrict movement in the area for 1 to 3 days. This may require the use of crutches for a leg injury, or a sling for the arm. This will minimise further damage or aggravation to the injury.

ELEVATE

Elevate the injured area above the level of your heart to reduce swelling.

AVOID ANTI-INFLAMMATORIES

During the acute phase, anti-inflammatories can inhibit tissue repair. Simple analgesics like paracetamol can be used for pain relief.

COMPRESS

External mechanical compression with a brace, bandage or taping can reduce local swelling and prevent further bleeding within the injured tissues.

EDUCATION

Speak with your physical therapist about the injury and get a guideline for recovery, and a therapy plan. Set goals about recovery times and expectations. Understand that restrictions for loading the injured area is only a temporary protective measure for the first 2 to 3 days.

LOAD

An active approach, with movement and exercise, benefits most injuries. Loading or stressing the joint or muscle (essentially making it work) within the limits of pain early on, actually promotes healing and stimulates tissue repair.

OPTIMISM

Science has shown that depression and fear about an injury and the recovery can actually result in worse outcomes,
and a worse prognosis. Staying realistic and positive is important since your brain plays a key part in your recovery.

VASCULARISATION

That’s a fancy word for improved blood supply to an area. Better blood flow means more oxygen and nutrients which ensure good tissue healing. Moving and working the joint or muscle, and exercising the tissues around the area, will increase blood flow to the injured site.

EXERCISE

Controlled exercise, within pain limits, is key from the beginning of your recovery. Restoring mobility and building strength will speed up your recovery and help prevent a recurrent injury.