What is a soft tissue injury and how is it treated?

Most of the mass of a human body is connective tissue in one or more of its various forms: fibrous tissue, cartilage, bone, adipose, etc.  Ligaments, tendons and fibrous capsules are all groups of connective tissue fibers arranged in the body in a largely parallel construction, thus providing great strength while also restricting movement.  Ligaments connect bone to bone.  Tendons are the fibrous ends of the skeletal muscle.  Fibrous capsules surround joint cavities into the joint cavity. 

Soft tissue (also known as Connective Tissue) injuries can be classified as contusions (bruises) sprains or trains.  A sprain by definition is an injury to a ligament while a train involves injury to musculotendonous unit.  The degree of injury and the location of the injury are important in determining what therapy is most appropriate. 

Soft tissue injuries can be classified as first, second or third degree.  First degree, are mild or minimal injuries.  Second degree injuries, are moderate and involve partial tearing of a ligament of musculotendonous unit.  The most severe injuries, involving the complete disruption of the ligament or musculotendounus unit, are classified as third degree injuries. 

Initial therapy should include elevation and ice, an addition to assessment of the injury.  The use of crutches or an arm sling may be indicated to immobilize the affected area.  In some cases, third degree injuries require surgery.  In any soft tissue injury and orthopedic surgeon can best determine the evaluation for treatment.