How to Manage Soft Tissue Injuries in the Workplace

Managing Soft Tissue Injuries at Work

If you have ever suffered a soft tissue injury, you know how painful and frustrating it can be. Soft tissue injuries can occur in any part of the body and often take a long time to heal. The average healing time once treatment has started is 12-14 weeks. In this blog post, we will discuss what soft tissue injuries are, how to recognize them, and how to manage them in the workplace.

What are soft tissue injuries?

Soft tissue injuries are any injury that affects the muscles, tendons, ligaments, or skin. They can occur in any part of the body. Some common examples of soft tissue injuries include strains, sprains, and contusions.

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Soft tissue injuries can be caused by repetitive motions, sudden trauma, or overuse. They are one of the most common types of injuries and often, if not treated early, will result in a more serious musculoskeletal disorder requiring extensive and costly treatment.

How do you recognize a soft tissue injury?

Recognizing soft tissue injuries can pose a considerable challenge due to them being undetectable on X-rays and other imaging assessments. These injuries may not leave visible marks on conventional medical scans. Instead, individuals and healthcare professionals must rely on observing an array of symptoms to discern their presence. These symptoms encompass a spectrum of experiences, including pain that can range from dull aches to sharp sensations, visible swelling as the body’s response to inflammation, the emergence of bruising as blood vessels rupture within the injured tissue, and a constrained range of motion that highlights the compromised functionality of the affected area.

Pain is the most common symptom and is often accompanied by joint stiffness, redness or swelling, and/or muscle tightness. Sometimes, such as with nerve-related issues, numbness, and tingling will occur.

Early-stage symptoms include aching and tiredness of the affected limb that occurs during the work shift but disappears at night and on days off – this is the best time to start addressing an injury with early intervention programs.

Intermediate-stage symptoms include aching and tiredness that occurs early in the work shift and persists at night​

Late-stage symptoms of injuries include aching, fatigue, and weakness that persist at rest, an inability to sleep and perform light duties.

How do you manage a soft tissue injury in the workplace?

If you have a soft tissue injury, there are some things you can do to help manage your symptoms and speed up your recovery. First, it is important to rest the injured area and avoid activities that aggravate your symptoms but still stay active and moving. You should also ice the injury for 20 minutes several times a day, and take over-the-counter pain medication as needed.

Talk to management and inquire about scheduling a visit with WorkSafe Physical Therapy for Early Intervention to speed up your recovery time and get you back to work sooner. Our team of expert physical therapists and athletic trainers can create a custom early intervention treatment plan.

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If the soft tissue injury is past the abilities of early intervention treatment, your provider with WorkSafe Physical Therapy will be able to advise on how to proceed with treatment.

What should you do if you suffer a soft tissue injury at work?

If you suffer a soft tissue injury at work, the first thing you should do is report it to your supervisor.

Being aware of your body and noticing early signs is key to keeping these injuries from developing into something more serious. Once you have reported the injury, your employer should provide you with instructions on what to do next.

There are many options for treating soft tissue injuries, the first being early intervention. If you have any questions or concerns about your employee’s injury, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at WorkSafe Physical Therapy.

Are there any steps that can be taken to prevent soft tissue injuries?

Several steps that can be taken to prevent soft tissue injuries in the workplace. First, it is important to warm up before doing any physical activity.

Second, you should use proper techniques by adhering to ergonomic principles, following correct body mechanics when performing any tasks, and avoiding repetitive motions whenever possible.

Third, it is important to take breaks often and stretch your muscles regularly. There are several ergonomic risk factors that should be addressed and avoided to help prevent discomfort during the workday.

Final Thoughts on Soft Tissue Injury Management

Soft tissue injuries have become a primary concern within workplace environments, and fortunately, they can be averted through the implementation of preventive measures. By adopting a proactive approach, employers and employees can significantly reduce the risk of such injuries occurring in the first place.

Strategies like ergonomic adjustments, regular breaks, proper training on lifting and movement techniques, and maintaining a safe and clutter-free workspace can all contribute to minimizing the likelihood of these injuries.

Contact WorkSafe to find out how we can help your company today!

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