Understanding Soft Tissue Injuries

Excelsior Orthopaedics Offers Some Important Information

Fans of professional baseball are, no doubt, familiar with soft tissue injuries, especially after the 2021 Major League Baseball season. After a pandemic-shortened 2020 season in which teams played just a 60-game regular season schedule, 2021 marked a return to a normal 162-game schedule for MLB. The 2021 campaign had its up and downs, including what seemed like an unusual number of soft tissue injuries that sidelined some of the game’s biggest stars.

One of the more confounding parts of the seemingly sudden spike of soft tissue injuries in professional baseball was how innocuous they initially seemed to the untrained eye. A seemingly minor hamstring tweak on a routine groundout may not have seemed like something that would sideline a professional athlete for very long, but baseball fans soon realized that such setbacks were sidelining players for weeks, if not months. And if professional athletes with unfettered access to personal trainers and medical services could suffer such injuries while performing, so, too, can weekend warriors and fitness enthusiasts. That reality makes efforts to learn about soft tissue injuries a worthwhile undertaking.

What are soft tissue injuries? Soft tissue injuries affect muscles, tendons or ligaments. Sprains, strains, tendinitis, and bursitis are some common examples of soft tissue injuries.

How do soft tissue injuries occur? Excelsior Orthopaedics’ surgeons note that soft tissue injuries often occur when individuals are playing sports or exercising in some other way. However, it’s also possible to suffer these injuries in normal everyday situations, such as stepping awkwardly. Additionally, if athletes don’t give their bodies enough time to recover between working out, they may suffer a soft tissue injury.

What is the recovery time for soft tissue injuries? Rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE) is a part of the recovery process for soft tissue injuries. This simple approach can give the false impression that recovery from soft tissue injuries will be quick. However, medical experts at Excelsior Orthopaedics say recovery from soft tissue injuries depends on many factors, including age and overall health. They also note that certain soft tissue injuries can cause permanent damage to affected muscles, tendons, or ligaments, which not only influences recovery time, but also increases the risk of injury recurrence and potentially threatens athletes’ careers. Additionally, certain soft tissue injuries can require longer recovery times than broken bones. Excelsior provides the following recommendations for preventing soft tissue injuries:

  • Use proper equipment. Wear loose-fitting clothing that promotes mobility and flexibility and replace athletic shoes as they wear out.
  • Aim for balance in your fitness routine. Adhere to a fitness regimen that incorporates cardiovascular exercise, strength training and flexibility.
  • Warm up. Warm up by running for a few minutes or engaging in another mild physical activity before starting any high-intensity exercise.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink water before, during, and after exercise.
  • Cool down. Gradually reduce the intensity of your movements as your workout winds down.
  • Stretch after exercise. Hold each stretch for 10 to 20 seconds before slowly and carefully releasing it.
  • Exercise daily. Aim for at least 20 minutes of moderate physical activity every day.