What is Soft Tissue Damage?

Meshell Powell
Meshell Powell
The most common ligament sprains occur in the wrists, knees, and ankles.
The most common ligament sprains occur in the wrists, knees, and ankles.

Soft tissue damage refers to any injury involving the muscles, ligaments, or tendons of the body. This type of damage may occur due to overuse or physical injury involving these soft tissues of the body. There are three basic types of soft tissue damage, typically known as a sprain, strain, or contusion. There are also three levels, or degrees, of damage, classified by the extent of the injury done to the affected muscles, ligaments, or tendons.

When tendons are stretched too far, injury can occur.
When tendons are stretched too far, injury can occur.

A sprain is one type of soft tissue damage that may occur and involves injury of a ligament. Ligaments are bands of fibrous connective tissue that connect the bones of the body to each other. When a ligament extends more than is natural, a sprain can occur. The most common ligament sprains occur in the knee, wrist, and ankle areas of the body. Sprains can usually be treated by resting the affected area and applying ice packs several times per day.

Sprains and strains are often treated with physiotherapy.
Sprains and strains are often treated with physiotherapy.

Another type of soft tissue damage is known as a strain and affects the muscles and tendons of the body. Tendons connect the various muscles of the body to the bones of the skeleton. Strains can occur when the muscles or tendons are torn or stretched too far. This type of injury may also occur if a muscle is stretched while it is contracting. Treatment is similar to that used for a strain, and over the counter pain relievers may be used to help reduce discomfort while the body heals from the injury.

A gel pack may be used to soothe the pain associated with a cervical sprain.
A gel pack may be used to soothe the pain associated with a cervical sprain.

A contusion is a type of injury commonly called a bruise. This typically happens due to some sort of a direct blow to the tissues of the body. Most contusions are minor and heal relatively quickly without any specific medical treatment. In some cases, deep tissue damage may occur, requiring medical attention such as medications or surgery.

Soft tissue damage is classified into first-, second-, or third-degree injuries, based upon the extent of the damage. First-degree injuries are mild and tend to only cause mild pain when stretching or moving the affected area of the body. Second-degree injuries are a little more serious, and small tears are typically present in the tissues. Third-degree injuries involve a complete rupture of the affected tissues and may require surgical intervention. Any suspected damage to the tissues should be reported to a doctor so that the situation can be properly evaluated and treated as necessary.

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    • The most common ligament sprains occur in the wrists, knees, and ankles.
      By: Shakzu
      The most common ligament sprains occur in the wrists, knees, and ankles.
    • When tendons are stretched too far, injury can occur.
      By: snyfer
      When tendons are stretched too far, injury can occur.
    • Sprains and strains are often treated with physiotherapy.
      By: aykuterd
      Sprains and strains are often treated with physiotherapy.
    • A gel pack may be used to soothe the pain associated with a cervical sprain.
      By: JPC-PROD
      A gel pack may be used to soothe the pain associated with a cervical sprain.
    • Tensor bandages -- commonly called Ace bandages -- have elastic and are typically used to treat light strains and sprains of the wrist and elsewhere on the body.
      By: maska82
      Tensor bandages -- commonly called Ace bandages -- have elastic and are typically used to treat light strains and sprains of the wrist and elsewhere on the body.
    • A contusion is a type of injury commonly called a bruise.
      By: dambuster
      A contusion is a type of injury commonly called a bruise.