You may enjoy playing video games or watching horror movies that show ghostly skeletons walking around and fighting. In a fantasy world, anything is possible. In real life, however, skeletons can’t move on their own. Our bones form the basic structure of our bodies, but without the other tissues that surround them, they remain static. We need the ligaments and tendons that hold them together and the muscles that pull on them and release in order to move and walk around. A broken bone may be a serious problem, but soft tissue injuries are just as likely to give us pain and sideline us from our activities.
Signs of Battle
A soft tissue injury is damage to your ligaments, tendons, and muscles—not your bones. All three types of tissue can be harmed from a single event like a fall or a blow, or from continued overuse such as running every day. When the tissue is damaged, you may feel pain and swelling around the injury and you may develop a bruise that discolors the skin.
These symptoms may also indicate an underlying fracture, though. Any injury that limits your movement should be checked out at Abbott Foot & Ankle Clinic. We can properly diagnose the cause and recommend the best treatment so you can fully heal and avoid problems in the future. Following are some common injuries involving your soft tissues.
Sprain – Ligaments hold your bones together to keep your joints stable. When the joint moves beyond its normal position, the ligaments can be pulled or stretched too far—or even torn. This commonly happens in your ankle when you step on uneven ground or twist it during activity. The degree of sprain can vary from mild to severe. Mild cases may only need Rest-Ice-Compression-Elevation (RICE) therapy to recover, while more serious sprains may require wearing a brace or even having surgery to repair a torn ligament.
Strain – This injury is similar to a sprain, but it affects the tendons or muscles, rather than the ligaments. Tendons connect your muscles to your bones. Muscles and tendons, like ligaments, can stretch too far or tear. The damage most often occurs in your foot or leg, and the treatment is similar to that for a sprain.
Tendonitis – This condition occurs when your tendon endures repeated small stresses, which cause it to become inflamed. Runners, soccer or basketball players and professional dancers are very prone to tendonitis. The damaged area will swell, turn red, feel warm, and be painful. You will need to rest from activity to allow your tendon to heal. Other treatments may include anti-inflammatory and steroid medication, splints and physical therapy.
Bursitis – A bursa is a membrane filled with fluid that acts as a cushion between your bone and a tendon or muscle. When it is aggravated by overuse, it can become irritated and swollen—a condition called bursitis. This injury can often occur along with tendonitis, and responds well to rest, with medication possibly needed to reduce the inflammation.
Contusion – When a blow to your muscle, ligament or tendon causes the blood to pool there, your skin will become discolored. You can follow the progression from red to purple to shades of green and yellow as it heals. The RICE method is usually an effective treatment.
Do No HARM
All of these soft tissue injuries can be painful, which could limit your activity. According to Better Health Channel in Australia, you should avoid HARM during the first few days after an injury to avoid increasing blood flow and swelling in the area. The acronym stands for Heat, Alcohol, Re-injury and Massage, all of which should be avoided for 48-72 hours after injury.
If you have symptoms of injury to the soft tissue of your lower limbs, contact Abbott Foot & Ankle Clinic in Collingwood, Ontario at (705) 444-9929 for a consultation. Chiropodist Tony Abbott is expert at discovering the cause of your pain and finding conservative treatments that will relieve your discomfort and get you moving again. Don’t let your injury turn into a horror story—call us today!