Soft Tissue Response to Injuries

So what actually happens when we injure the soft tissues in our body? Understanding the processes and time frames involved can give you a basic idea of what to expect should you encounter an injury. Common soft tissue injuries involve structures such as muscles, tendons, and ligaments. The following three stages are how typical soft tissue injuries will respond:

  1. The acute stage usually lasts around 0-72 hours and involves local inflammation, bleeding and the initial formation of scar tissue.
  2. The repair stage begins on day 2 and can continue until week 6 and involves scar tissue being formed to ‘close’ the damage.
  3. The remodeling stage can begin after 4 weeks and can last up to 12 months. During this stage, the tissue slowly returns to it’s pre-injured state. The initial extent of the injury will influence the amount of scar tissue formed along with healing times.

Muscles will lose strength in relatively short periods of time due to the inflammatory process and being immobilized.

Scar tissue can be broken down effectively using soft tissue therapy techniques performed by a physiotherapist. This can speed up recovery time and promote muscle elasticity which can reduce the risk of re-injury.

Each injury presents differently and although each injury will go through the above stages, the time frames can differ depending on the severity of the injury.

By Todd Purser.

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