Tests & Procedures



Soft-Tissue Injuries

What are soft-tissue injuries?

Many activities can lead to soft-tissue damage of muscles, ligaments, and tendons. The result can be pain, swelling, bruising, and damage. Soft-tissue injuries are classified as the following:

  • Contusions (bruises)
  • Sprains
  • Tendonitis
  • Bursitis
  • Stress injuries
  • Strains

Athletes and nonathletes share many similar soft-tissue injuries.

What is a contusion?

A contusion (bruise) is an injury to the soft tissue often produced by a blunt force, such as a kick, fall, or blow. The result will be pain, swelling, and discoloration. Treatment for contusions includes Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation (R.I.C.E.). More serious contusions may need to be examined by a doctor.

What is a sprain?

Illustration demonstrating the three ligaments involved in ankle sprains/strains
Click Image to Enlarge

A sprain is an injury to a ligament and is often caused by a wrench or twist. Sprains often affect the ankles, knees, or wrists. The treatment for a sprain includes Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation (R.I.C.E.). If the ligament is torn, surgical repair may be necessary.

What is a strain?

A strain is an injury to a muscle or tendon, and is often caused by overuse, force, or stretching. The treatment for a strain is Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation (R.I.C.E). If a tear in the muscle occurs, surgical repair may be necessary.

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Last reviewed: 1/16/2012