Soft Tissue Injury – First Aid

Soft tissue injuries may be sudden or get worse gradually. Further treatment depends on the type and severity of the injury. Always see your doctor if pain persists after a couple of days.

Causes – Sudden twists or jolts. The fibres overstretch beyond their capacity and tear. Bleeding from broken blood vessels causes the swelling.

A sprain – Joint injury – tearing of the ligaments and joint capsule. Common sites include the thumb, ankle and wrist.
A strain – Injury to muscle or tendons. Common sites include the calf, groin and hamstring.

Signs and symptoms

  • Pain / tenderness
  • Can’t stand on injured leg without pain
  • Decreased function of the injured part
  • Discolouration, swelling, stiffness

First aid



Rest – stop the activity; take casualty to the sideline or first aid room; stop movement.

Ice – for the first 24 to 48 hours, apply ice or cold packs for 15 minutes every 2 hours.

Compression – bandage the injured area firmly with a roller bandage, extend the wrapping above and below the injury. You may soak the compression bandage (crepe bandage) in cold water as it immediately reduces blood flow into the bruise which will assist the healing process.

Elevation – if injuries permit, elevate the injured area above the level of their heart and:

  • Avoid heat, alcohol or massage, which can exacerbate the swelling
  • If symptoms get worse in the first 24 hours, seek further medical investigation
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