Soft Tissue Management

DSC_8026The term ‘soft tissue’ generally refers to all the structural components of the human body other than rigid bone. This may include muscles, tendons, ligaments, joint cartilage, joint capsules, and connective fascia. Bone provides the skeletal frame on which all soft tissues act. Healthy soft tissues generate both stability and movement. Movements that we marvel at when watching skilled athletes, that we appreciate when enjoying accomplished artists performing, but also all the motion we take for granted in our everyday life.

How is Soft Tissue Damaged?

Soft tissue damage usually occurs in one of four ways. These include:

  1. Misuse/overuse trauma
  2. Externally caused trauma
  3. Disease trauma
  4. Disuse-inactivity damage

1. When an activity excessively stresses soft tissue structures it leads to misuse/overuse trauma. This is caused by movements being done too often, too intensely, too long or with poor form. Injury usually builds up as a combination of these factors. ‘Repetitive strain injuries’ at work or in sports fit into this category.
Soft Tissue Damage
2. Externally caused traumas occur when the body must absorb unexpected forces beyond its capacity. Resulting damage is either through a cutting or crushing blow or from a tearing action. These mechanisms leave local soft tissues dysfunctional but also affect body structures further from the injury site. Some surgeries (joint replacements specifically) can negatively affect soft tissue function.

3. Many diseases can cause damage to soft tissues. Various Infections, cancers, autoimmune conditions, and chronic nutritional deficiencies attack healthy soft tissue cells and result in chronic and sometimes life-threatening situations. Many forms of arthritis and connective tissue disorders will severely limit human movement.

4. The body is happiest and healthiest when it’s moving. Cell growth, repair, and maintenance depend on frequent and consistent motion. Inactivity and the lack of body-loading movement lead to gradual deterioration of all cell types. Soft tissue structures are especially vulnerable to disuse. Muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joint cartilage will become weak, rigid, and dysfunctional, eventually degenerating to a state of perpetual pain and injury.

What is Soft Tissue Therapy?

Soft tissue therapy (STT) encompasses a wide range of treatment options. At Island Running Doc Clinic, our main objectives are to reduce pain, decrease inflammation, restore healthy tissue, and optimize function.

We begin by assessing the mechanical stress that may have caused the issue. Once the cause (mechanism of injury) is understood, an effective treatment strategy can begin. We accomplish this by using manual therapies including ‘Active Release Techniques®’, myofascial release, positional release, and joint mobilization. Low Intensity Therapeutic Laser and Electro therapies (Interferential current, Russian stimulation, Biphasic, and Micro current) combine with traction therapy and Kinesiology Athletic Taping to accelerate healing and enhance recovered performance.

Since soft tissues form the functional basis for all human movement, developing an appropriate soft tissue injury treatment plan unique to each individual is important. Further to the actual treatment is the prescription of restorative exercises, training programs, and specific running technique coaching. These are essential to maintain and anchor the gains made during the initial therapy.

What is Low Intensity Laser Therapy?

Low Intensity Laser (also referred to as Low level Laser, Cold Laser, or Deep Tissue Laser) uses focused light energy to address injured tissue by helping to eliminate pain, decrease inflammation and accelerate healing. The Laser penetrates the problem area to a depth of about 2-5 cm and has direct effects on the cells. These effects include:

  • Inhibition of pain nerve fibers and prostaglandin levels.
  • Increase in blood flow and oxygen to the tissues through vessel dilation and growth.
  • Accelerated cell repair and growth of muscles, tendons, ligaments and connective tissue.
  • Nerve recovery with increased growth of the cells and their connections.
  • Optimization of healthy inflammatory processes leading to rapid healing.

Low Intensity Laser is effective on all tissues and often provides the missing ingredient for full recovery especially areas of concern that are close to the body’s surface.

What are Active Release Techniques?

soft tissue body-webActive Release Techniques (ART)® is a patented manual therapy highly effective in addressing soft tissue injuries including those of muscle, tendon, ligament, fascia and nerve. Soft tissue injuries lead to acute and/or chronic pain, tissue adhesions, scar tissue, reduced range of motion, and loss of strength.

ART® protocols use a specialized combination of directed tissue pressure and specific patient movement to break down scar tissue in the affected area and enhance blood flow and oxygen delivery. This releases the tissues, allowing them to move freely and stimulates repair with a return to normal function.

ART® provides an innovative therapeutic option for chronic, traditionally difficult-to-treat conditions. Physical performance at home, at work, and in sports is highly dependent on healthy tissues. That is why many elite athletes and professional sport teams make active release techniques an integral part of their soft tissue therapy approach. Dr. Stefani is fully certified in the practice of ART® and serves on the Ironman Treatment Team during Ironman Triathlon competitions in North America.

Will Soft Tissue Therapy Help My Running?

Yes! As runners, our bodies, and specifically our lower limbs and backs, experience high degrees of load and wear. Of course with appropriate training routines and proper technique, most running injuries can be avoided; however, when trouble strikes it usually involves soft tissue. We treat conditions such as:

  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Ankle sprains
  • Shin splints
  • Compartment syndrome
  • Patellofemoral issues
  • Hamstring and calf strains
  • Illiotibial band syndrome
  • Piriformis syndrome
  • Hip impingement

A comprehensive “running injury rehabilitation” approach will yield the most successful long term return to your running goals. Dr. Stefani is a certified “super specialist” with “The Running Clinic”, (web site link insert) and as such receives the newest research concerning run training, running injuries, and running recovery. Our goal is to assist you in running better than you have ever run before!

Our Office

5356 Fillinger Cres.
Nanaimo, BC
V9V 1H6

Top 10 chiropractors in Nanaimo, BC 2015
Rated one of 2015’s top Nanaimo Chiropractic practices. Congratulations Clinic!
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