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Soft tissues can get injured in a lot of different ways. Most commonly, it can be led by overexertion or improper positioning. Perhaps you lift weights and then you’ve torn your muscle, ligament or tendon. Or maybe your work involves repetitive tasks which may lead to overuse injuries. Or it can be you’re playing basketball and then you twisted your ankle.
Soft tissue injuries may seem less concerning because they’re not as apparent as open wounds or broken bones, but they can be just as damaging if left untreated.
Rehabilitation for Soft Tissue Injury
Rehabilitation of soft tissue injuries can be complex. Over the years, acronyms such as ICE, which has evolved to RICE then to PRICE, has been around being used as acute management for soft tissue injuries. However, on a BMJ blog written by Blaise Dubois and Jean-Francios Esculler, two new acronyms have been suggested as management that can optimise recovery – PEACE and LOVE. PEACE is being used for immediate care and LOVE as subsequent management. These two bring the importance of patient education and addressing psychosocial factors to enhance recovery.
P for Protect
Protection is important to prevent injury from worsening. For example, if you injured your leg, you can use crutches, a cane or hiking poles to limit or avoid bearing weight. Another way to protect your injury is to partially immobilise it by using a sling, splint or brace. The idea is to unload or restrict movement for 1-3 days. It’s not really a good idea to prolong rest as it can compromise tissue strength and quality.
E for Elevate
Elevation helps reduce the pooling of fluid in the injured extremity or joint. It’s important to control swelling to reduce pain, limit the loss of range of motion and possibly shorten the recovery time. The elevation is done by positioning the injured part above heart level.
A For Avoid Anti-Inflammatory Modalities
Anti-inflammatories can be beneficial on pain and function, however, they can cause potential harm to tissue repair. Anti-inflammatory drugs may potentially impair tissue healing in the long term. The different phases of inflammation contribute to optimal soft tissue regeneration. It is an important process in which if it’s being inhibited through medications, especially in higher doses, may affect tissue healing.
C for Compress
Compression helps reduce swelling and provides mild support. This is done by applying an external force to the injured tissue with the use of a compression wrap such as an elastic bandage. When applying an elastic bandage. It is important to be done correctly. The bandage should not be too loose or too tight. It also shouldn’t cause numbness, tingling or colour change to the soft tissue.
E for Educate
For therapists, they should educate their patients on the benefits of an active approach to recovery. For an individual, being well-informed about the condition and load management can help avoid overtreatment that can increase the chances of getting invasive treatments.
LOVE is then applied after a few days.
L for Load
For patients with musculoskeletal disorders, movement and exercise are highly beneficial. Normal activities should be resumed as soon as the symptoms allow. Optimal loading without worsening the pain promotes healing.
O for Optimism
A positive mindset plays a key role in rehabilitation. Pessimism is associated with less optimal results and a worse prognosis. A strong belief in attaining complete recovery makes it more likely to happen. Optimism enhances the likelihood of optimal recovery.
V for Vascularisation
A pain-free cardiovascular activity should commence a few days after injury to increase motivation and improve blood flow to the injured structures. When started early, mobilisation and aerobic exercise improve function and reduce the need for pain medications.
E for Exercise
Exercises help restore mobility, strength and proprioception early after injury. There shouldn’t be any pain to ensure optimal repair during the subacute phase of recovery. It should also serve as a guide when advancing to more difficult exercises.
Aiming for a Full Recovery
For us at Best Body Physio & Pilates, we aim for long-term results. We don’t simply treat the injury. We treat our clients as a whole. Because full recovery is not just completely healing an injured part of your body. Full recovery is about being in an optimal state of health physically and mentally.
Injured? If you’re in for a full recovery, book an appointment with us!
Dubois, B., & Esculier, J. (2019, April 30). Soft tissue injuries simply need PEACE & LOVE. Retrieved from https://blogs.bmj.com/bjsm/2019/04/26/soft-tissue-injuries-simply-need-peace-love/