Soft Tissue Injuries

Soft Tissue Injuries

  • Tears, sprains, contusions
  • Skin abrasions, lacerations, blisters
  • Inflammatory response

Tears, Sprains, Contusions

  • Tears
    • Occurs due to stretching of tissues over the limit.
    • The recovery process begins from 24hrs of the injury and can last even up to 6 months.
  • Sprains
    • Results from overstretching or tearing a ligament.
    • If the ligament is torn, joint stability is disrupted.
    • Sprains can cause pain, swelling and immobilisation causing the inability to perform even the common joint movements.
    • The healing process of sprain is slow since ligaments have poor blood supply.
  • Contusions
    • Rupture of blood capillaries from bruises experienced during a direct contact.
    • Can be superficial (close to the skin) or extend till the bones.
    • Blood flow is obstructed in surrounding tissue, leading to the formation of a hematoma (pool of blood exterior to the blood vessels).
    • Blood clots are formed in the connective tissue membrane.

Skin Abrasions, Lacerations, Blisters

  • Skin abrasions
    • Scraping of skin due to falling on a dry, hard surface.
    • Pain is experienced, along with shallow bleeding.
    • The wound is cleaned and sterilized with antiseptics to prevent infections.
  • Lacerations
    • A deep cut on the skin by sharp objects, the skin doesn’t scrape off unlike skin abrasions.
    • First aid can be applied if the wound is shorter than 1cm. Referral is required for larger and deeper cuts.
    • Bleeding needs to be stopped first by applying pressure. The wound is cleaned and covered to avoid infections.
  • Blisters
    • Pockets filled with fluid (lymph, serum, plasma, blood or pus) below or within the epidermal layer of the skin, can be intensely painful.
    • Causes include friction, burning, freezing, chemical exposure or infection.
    • Blisters should be washed and dressed with antiseptic. Donut bandages are applied.

Inflammatory Response

  • Inflammation
    • Redness, pain and swelling.
    • Loss of mobility.
    • Blood vessels are formed to begin and promote healing.
  • Repair, regeneration
    • Pathogens and debris are eliminated.
    • New fibres are formed, scar tissue production is triggered.
    • Usually takes 3-6 weeks.
  • Remodelling
    • Scar tissue production is multiplied.
    • Disfigured collagen fibres are remodelled, the wound fully closes.
    • Cells functioning in repair but can now retire are removed by apoptosis.
    • Process lasts from 6 weeks – months.