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Recovering from Soft Tissue Injury

Recovering from Soft Tissue Injury

Soft tissue injury (STI) is something people certainly want to avoid, but it can happen anytime—be it a minor or a major injury.   It occurs when we abuse or have accidents that affect our muscles, ligaments or tendons.

soft tissue injury

Most soft tissue injuries are the consequence of sudden unforeseen movements such as falling and stumbling, or suddenly using parts of your body that you never have such as when you start playing a sport you’ve never played before. They can likewise happen from inordinate abuse or constant use of already exhausted body structures—particularly muscles and tendons—such as when you push your body exercises beyond your limits when you are already fatigued.

Common soft tissue injuries include ankle sprain, calf strain, hamstring strain, and back strain.

When you have soft tissue injury, you usually experience immediate pain and then swelling. You may also experience instability, stiffness and bruising.

The rate of healing depends on the extent of the injury.  Like a break in the skin, it will need to go through stages of healing for it to be considered fully healed. But keep in mind that it may never go back to a hundred percent normal.

Recovery Time and Stages of Healing

A soft tissue injury allows for up to three stages of healing, depending on the gravity of the injury. Recovery time varies from between one to more than four weeks, again depending on the intensity of the injury.

With soft tissue injury, you may be in need of serious medical attention if you experience the following1:

A popping or cracking sound at the time of injury
Inability to put weight on the injured part
Unusual deformity in the injured area
Pain in surrounding bone structures
Numbness or pins and needles

However, make no presumptions.  As we always say, ALWAYS CONSULT A DOCTOR. Recovery times can also depend on your age, general health and occupation. If you are not sure of the nature or extent of your injury, contact a physiotherapist for advice.

Stage 1: Acute swelling and pain—Day 1-7

While inflammation or swelling—usually with pain and redness—makes us nervous and is great cause for concern, acute or fresh inflammation actually helps repair tissues. An inflammation is the result of a “vascular and cellular response that releases chemicals” required to heal an injured part of the body, and allows for more blood to flow towards the area. During this stage, the R.I.C.E. protocol—rest, ice, compression and elevation—is advised to decrease pain and swelling. Consult a doctor or pharmacist for pain relief medication, if needed.

Rest – means rest. If a certain movement or activity causes intense pain, don’t do it.

Ice – Use an ice pack for 15-20 minutes every 3-4 hours. Make sure to wrap the ice in a towel or cloth to avoid cold burns.

Compression – Firmly cover the affected area, including the joint, with a bandage.

Elevation – Raise the affected area above the heart level. This helps reduce the swelling.

Stage 2: Reduction of swelling and pain, regeneration of damaged tissues—Day 4 up to 6 weeks

As swelling goes down, the body begins to repair the damaged tissue by laying down new collagen fibers in the form of scar tissue. At this time, very likely the pain goes down, too. You start feeling better but still need to take extra care because the new collagen strands are weaker than normal tissues and can’t take regular stress. Focus on regaining range of motion and exercises that help re-align the collagen fibers.

Stage 3: Return to normal function and activities, 2-3 weeks up to months or years

This is also called the remodeling phase where the focus is strengthening and organizing the collagen fibers. Activities and exercises need to focus on regaining full range of motion and improving strength.  There is need to add stress to the tissues in order to help realign the fibers along the proper lines of stress.3


1 The Physiotherapy Clinics: Soft Tissue Injuries
2 Palermo Physiotherapy and Wellness Center: The 3 Stages of Tissue Healing
3 Ibid.

Dr. Allamm Morales, M.D.

Dr. Allamm Morales has over 15 years experience in personal injury and a wide range of neurological disorders. He has privilege, and provides patient care in local Baptist hospitals.

He was Chief Resident at the Neurology Residency Program of the University of South Florida, and worked at the Florida Hospital of New Smyrna, and St. Luke Hospital in Ponce, Puerto Rico. He also served many years with the Florida Neurology Institute, Inc.

Dr. Morales is a Diplomate of the American Board of Vascular Neurology, and a Diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.

Dr. Morales studied in Nova Southeastern University, Davie, FL, had residency at the Caibarien General Hospital, Cuba, and obtained the MD degree at the Superior Institute of Medical Science in Cuba.

Fiaz Jaleel, M.D.
Physical Medicine & Rehab, Pain Management

“Life is short and precious. As a Physiatrist and Pain Physician my goal for my patients is to reduce their pain and suffering, enhance form, improve function and ultimately promote the best quality of life for that individual.”

Dr. Fiaz Jaleel graduated from the University of The West Indies in 1987. He completed a two year internship at Port of Spain General Hospital in Trinidad and Tobago. He completed his internship in Internal Medicine at St. Francis Hospital in Evanston, IL and went on to do a residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis , MO. In 2007, Dr. Jaleel joined the team at Absolute Injury and Pain Physicians as Medical Director. He is currently Board Certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation as well as Pain Medicine via the American Board of Pain Medicine.

In Trinidad and Tobago, Dr. Jaleel held positions as an Intern, House officer, and District Medical Officer. He has also practiced in Illinois, Missouri, South Dakota and Central and North Florida.

While practicing in Trinidad , Dr. Jaleel also worked in Internal Medicine, General Surgery, Pediatrics, Neonatology, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Ear, Nose and Throat Surgery, Ophthalmology, Radiology, Neurosurgery, Plastic Surgery, Orthopedics, Emergency Medicine and Community Medicine.

Dr. Jaleel has encountered many diseases, disorders and clinical situations related to multiple aspects of trauma including penetrating and non-penetrating injuries, motor vehicular accidents and concomitant injuries including intra-abdominal injuries, closed head injuries, fractures and burns.

When not treating his patients, Dr. Jaleel enjoys travelling, reading and spending time with friends and family.

Dr. Jaleel has the following affiliations:
Diplomate, American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Diplomate, American Board of Pain Medicine
Fellow, American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Member, American Academy of Pain Medicine
Member, Florida Society of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Member, Florida Academy of Pain Medicine
Member, Florida Medical Association

Deric L. D’Agostino, D.C.
Chiropractic Physician

“The health of a body is in direct proportion to the health of its nervous system. The nervous system controls every cell, tissue and organ in your body, tap into that and “miracles” will most certainly happen!”

Dr. Deric D’Agostino attended the Logan College of Chiropractic and has been helping patients at Absolute Injury and Pain Physicians for the past nine years. Around here we call him “Dr. D.”

Dr. D’Agostino specializes in Koren Specific Technique and in the treatment of injuries resulting from motor vehicle accidents. He is a master of his craft and firmly believes that chiropractic treatment can not only help the body but also the mind. His sense of humor and the personal attention that he provides really puts patients at ease.

Dr. D’Agostino genuinely listens to the patient while working very hard to erase their pain-inducing symptoms. He is always seeking out continuing education and new methodology to add to his care repertoire.

When he is not helping patients find relief, Dr. D’Agostino enjoys training for sprint triathlons, gardening, as well as being an awesome father and husband. You will most likely find him at our Arlington location dawning a huge smile while drinking his homemade juice.