If you spend any time at all enjoying the great outdoors, chances are good you will experience, or have to treat someone who experiences, a soft tissue injury. These are, perhaps, the most common types of injuries that we see with outdoor activities. That being the case, it is good to know something about these injuries in order to be prepared for them when they happen.
What Are Soft Tissue Injuries?
“Soft tissue injuries” is a broad term that covers injuries to muscles, tendons, and ligaments. These injuries do NOT include serious head injuries, broken bones, dislocations, crushing injuries, or severe back and neck injuries. Some of the more common types of soft tissue injuries include:
Sprains are very common injuries, especially for hikers and hunters. This type of injury comes about because of wrenching or twisting on a ligament. They are often seen in ankles, wrists, and knees. The degree of damage can vary from mild to severe. To treat these injuries, remember RICE:
Rest, Ice, Compression, (and) Elevation.
A strain comes about because of overuse, force, or over-stretching of a tendon or muscle. Strains often happen due to tripping or falling or hiking over hard terrain for extended periods of time without the proper conditioning. The treatment for strains in the field is also RICE.
Bursitis occurs when the fluid-filled sac found in some joints becomes inflamed or irritated. This type of injury is most often seen in hips, shoulders, knees, and elbows. Bursitis is triggered by overuse of the joint and often the person has a past history of this problem. Again, RICE is the best treatment for those in the field.
Bruising occurs because of direct contact between a hard object and a body part. When the blood vessels below the impact site rupture, bruising occurs. In most cases, the person can move along even with a bruise. However, if the bruise is large and painful, you should have the person remain still and quiet for a few moments and check to see if they have a broken bone or limited mobility in the area. A cold pack or ice can be applied to the area to help with the pain.
Inflammation or irritation to a tendon can cause tendonitis. This injury is most often seen when repeated motions are performed. Rock climbers may experience this injury, but others may experience it as well if they are doing some activity over and over again that they are not used to doing. The treatment for this injury is RICE.
As you can see, one set of treatments (RICE) can be used to treat a variety of injuries. While it is easy to remember what RICE stands for, don’t be fooled into thinking these treatments are too simple to actually work. These easy treatments have been used for centuries now and the reason for that is because they work!
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of Patriot Surplus.