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Sprains, Strains, and Other Soft-Tissue Injuries


There are a few soft tissues in the body which can be damaged by strenuous sporting activities. Sometimes injury happens to these structures even after seemingly trivia trauma. The soft tissues that commonly sustain injury are tendons, ligaments and muscles.Some of the soft-tissue injuries you are most likely to experience include:sprains, strains, contusions, tendonitis, bursitis.


Any of these can be the result of a single episode, such as a fall, a sudden twist, or a blow to the body or due to repeated overuse. Small amounts of stress accumulate over time and ultimately causes damage and pain.Here are some of the injuries you are most likely to experience, along with suggested ways of treating them.


What is a sprain?


The joints of your body are supported by ligaments. These are strong bands of tissue that connect one bone to another. A sprain is a simple stretch or tear of the ligaments.The areas of your body that are most vulnerable to sprains are your ankles, knees, and wrists.A sprained ankle can occur when your foot turns inward. This can put extreme tension on the ligaments of your outer ankle and cause a sprain. A sprained knee can be the result of a sudden twist. A wrist sprain most often occurs when you fall on an outstretched hand.


Most mild sprains heal with the first line therapy of  "R.I.C.E." (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation) and exercise. Moderate sprains may also require a period of bracing. The most severe sprains may require surgery to repair torn ligaments.


What is a strain?


Your bones are supported by a combination of muscles and tendons. Tendons are the cord like tissue that connect muscles to bones. A strain is the result of an injury to either a muscle or a tendon, usually in your foot or leg. The strain may be a simple stretch in your muscle or tendon, or it may be a partial or complete tear in the muscle-and-tendon combination.The recommended treatment for a strain is the same as for a sprain: rest, ice, compression, and elevation. This should be followed by simple exercises to relieve pain and restore mobility.For a serious tear, the soft tissues may need to be repaired surgically.


What is a contusion?


A contusion is a bruise caused by a blow to your muscle, tendon, or ligament. The bruise is caused when blood pools around the injury and discolors the skin.Most contusions are mild and respond well when you rest, apply ice and compression, and elevate the injured area. The colour change may take 2-3 weeks or more to disappear. If symptoms persist, medical care should be sought.


What is tendonitis and how is it treated?


Inflammation is a healing response to injury. It is usually accompanied by swelling, heat, redness, and pain. An inflammation in a tendon or in the covering of the tendon (the paratenon) is called tendonitis.Tendonitis is caused by a series of small stresses that repeatedly aggravate the tendon. This can affect any tendon, but the most commonly affected ones are the rotator cuff in the shoulder, the patella tendon in the knee and the Achilles tendon in the leg.Tendonitis may be treated by rest to eliminate stress, anti-inflammatory medication, steroid injections, splinting, and exercises to correct muscle imbalance and improve flexibility. Persistent inflammation may cause damage to the tendon, which may necessitate surgical correction.


What is a bursa ?


A bursa is a sac filled with fluid that is located between a bone and a tendon or muscle. A bursa allows the tendon to slide smoothly over the bone.Repeated small stresses and overuse can cause the bursa in the shoulder, elbow, hip, knee, or ankle to swell, collect fluid and get inflammed. This swelling and irritation is called bursitis.Bursitis can usually be relieved by rest and possibly with anti-inflammatory medication. Some orthopaedic surgeons also inject the bursa with additional medication to reduce the inflammation. Sometimes a surgery to remove / excise the bursa may be necessary.




Dr Vinod Kumar Abu Dhabi

Sports surgeon Abu Dhabi

Shoulder surgeon Abu Dhabi

NMC Royal Hospital

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