Soft tissues include muscles, tendons ligaments, and nerves. Soft tissue manipulation treatment covers a range of treatments which aim to improve the mobility of stiff, immobile soft tissues and those with poor circulation due to inactivity or increased tension. It is also used to help mobilise scar tissue, thereby preventing long term recurrence of inflammation. Some soft tissue manipulation techniques can be quite uncomfortable as the physiotherapist moves the affected tissues, particularly if they are very tight, or very deep structures. It is important to keep the physiotherapist informed throughout the session as they will be able to guide treatment to a level that the patient will be able to tolerate. Soft tissue trauma is when there is an overuse of muscles, tendons or ligaments. Most soft tissue injuries are the result of a sudden unexpected or uncontrolled movement like stepping awkwardly off a curb and rolling over your ankle. These are injures we see every day at our Edinburgh physiotherapy and sports injury clinics. However, soft tissue damage can also occur from excessive overuse or chronically fatigued structures, especially muscles and tendons. The symptoms of soft tissue trauma are seen when soft tissue is damaged, there is usually immediate pain along with immediate or delayed swelling. Stiffness is also very common as a result of the trauma and swelling. Bruising may also develop after 24-48 hours. In the case of moderate to severe soft tissue injuries of muscles, tendons and ligaments around a joint, there may be instability experienced, especially to weight bearing joints like the hip, knee and ankle.
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