What is Soft Tissue Damage?

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  • Written By: Meshell Powell
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 31 January 2020
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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.

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.


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 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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