Soft Tissue Injuries and Sports Injuries
What are Soft Tissue Injuries?
Soft tissue and sporting injuries can occur from acute trauma or repetitive stress from overuse of particular muscles, especially athletic activities. Sports injuries can affect soft tissue (muscle, ligaments and tendons) as well as the nerves and bone structures.
What Causes Soft Tissue Injuries?
The force responsible for damage in an acute injury is often obvious; for example someone else’s football boot colliding with your ankle, your knee twisting awkwardly in a rugby tackle, or tripping over a curb on your evening run. In the more chronic types of injury sportsmen and women can often be quite unsettled by the insidious onset of symptoms with no obvious reason. In these instances it is often simply the forces present when performing high impact activity that are to blame. These cause micro-damage to the tissues at a level which is undetected at the time, but gradually builds up.
Many lower limb overuse sporting injuries treated by podiatrists result from abnormal biomechanics and poor foot and lower limb alignment. There are various factors which can cause or predispose to soft tissue or sporting injuries, these include:
- Physical Fitness
- Psychological factors (poor concentration/anxiety/aggression)
- Previous injury (known as reduced proprioception and include weakened soft tissue structures such as scar tissue)
- Mechanical imbalances (poor lower limb alignment, joint instability, altered muscle strength and length)
- Training (over training, under training or training on inappropriate surfaces)
- Poor technique ( e.g. long jumpers not bending your knees when landing to prevent injury)
- Equipment (e.g. hockey stick injuries)
- Environment (Heat, cold, wet conditions and dry conditions can all contribute to slow build up soft tissue damage.)
- Strapping – Taping is one method that has been utilized to biomechanically control tensile forces generated through activity in the healing stage. The concept of strapping/taping of the foot to treat soft tissue and sport injuries is to reduce excessive foot pronation which has increases tensile stress in the foot and ankle.
- Stretching and strengthening exercises – flexibility of the unaffected muscles (or later in the healing stage of the effected muscles) is overlooked. It is not recommended to perform strengthening exercises in the acute phase of the treatment plan of soft tissue or sporting injuries. However if you have weak muscles, for example the calf muscles, this will cause you to have an abnormal gait; weakened muscles have diminished force absorption and production capabilities. Therefore increased compensatory stress may be placed on other structures, which can lead to force overload, tissue microfailure, and pain. This may sound extremely complex with A causing B causing C causing D (which is the symptoms you are actually experiencing). Your podiatrist will trace the root cause during your biomechanical assessment and will provide you with the appropriate stretching and strengthening regime.
- Kensington Podiatry also offers easy access to specialist physiotherapists and we work with and close to Kensington Physio & Sports Medicine
- Orthotics/Orthoses – we can offer you temporary insoles during the treatment plan or you may be prescribed fully custom made orthotics specific to your foot and your injury.