Soft tissue injuries affect the muscles, ligaments and tendons. They are normally caused by some kind of accident, overuse or chronic fatigue. When tendons or muscles become overstretched these are referred to as strains, but when the ligaments become overstretched it is called a sprain. Soft tissue injuries are graded according to their severity:
- Grade 1 is a mild strain or sprain which may result in microscopic tearing of fibres and some swelling and discomfort.
- Grade 2 is a moderate strain or sprain which may make you unable to put weight on the affected area without pain.
- Grade 3 is a severe strain or sprain caused by the complete rupture of the structure. You may experience significant pain and instability and be unable to use the injured area.
A grade 3 injury may have a lengthy recovery time, whereas a grade 1 injury may be healed within a few weeks. It is important to get a diagnosis as leaving a soft tissue injury untreated can cause a significant worsening of symptoms.