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SyncThermology Blog

Topic In Focus - Soft Tissue Injuries

Monday, January 16, 2017  ‹ Back To Latest News List


As we begin a new year, our first topic in focus is soft tissue injuries. This month our blog has been written by our Berkshire based Canine Technician Michelle. Michelle owns Aquatic Canine Therapy in Newbury, a centre which specialises in canine hydrotherapy.
Michelle qualified as a Hydrotherapist at Hawksmoor Animal Rehabilitation Centre in Nuneaton and is ABC Nationally accredited to Diploma level in Hydrotherapy for small animals having completed the Introduction to hydrotherapy, Anatomy, Physiology and Clinical Conditions associated with hydrotherapy, Canine Elbow & Hip Dysplasia, Canine Cruciate & Patella Disease distance learning and Advanced Aquatic Treadmill Therapy to name just a few! She is also trained in Canine and Feline First Aid, has a Diploma with Distinction in Animal Care (SAC DIP) and Animal Psychology and is a member of NARP, IRVAP and BVNA.
So…. What is a soft tissue injury?
Soft tissue injuries are when trauma or overuse occurs to muscles, tendons or ligaments. Most soft tissue injuries are the result of a sudden unexpected or uncontrolled movement. However, soft tissue damage can also occur from excessive overuse or chronically fatigued structures, especially muscles and tendons.
Soft tissue injuries are commonly categorised depending on the time frame since injury and the healing processes that are occurring at that time. Stages are divided up into broad stages which are not mutually exclusive and overlap considerably.
Bleeding Phase
This is a relatively short lived phase, and will occur following injury, trauma or other similar insult.
Inflammatory Phase:
The inflammatory phase is an essential component of the tissue repair process and is best regarded in this way rather than as an 'inappropriate reaction' to injury. The inflammatory phase has a rapid onset (few hours at most) and swiftly increases in magnitude to its maximal reaction (1-3 days) before gradually resolving (over the next couple of weeks). The onset and resolution are swifter in more vascular tissues and slower in the relatively poorly vascularised tissues.
Proliferation Phase:
The proliferative phase essentially involves the generation of the repair material, which for the majority of musculoskeletal injuries, involves the production of scar (collagen) material. The proliferative phase has a rapid onset (24-48 hours) but takes considerably longer to reach its peak reactivity, which is usually between 2-3 weeks post injury (the more vascular the tissue, the shorter the time taken to reach peak proliferative production).
Remodelling Phase:
The remodelling phase is an often overlooked phase of repair in terms of its importance, especially in the context of therapy and rehabilitation. It is neither swift nor highly reactive, but does result in an organised, quality and functional scar which is capable of behaving in a similar way to the parent tissue (which it is repairing).
The final outcome of these combined events is that the damaged tissue will be repaired with a scar which is not a ‘like for like’ replacement of the original, but does provide a functional, long term ‘mend’ which is capable of enabling quality recovery from injury.
How does hydrotherapy assist recovery?
The buoyancy of the water helps to support body weight and therefore the patient benefits from a partial weight bearing environment. This results in pain being reduced during aquatic exercise. The pressure of the water helps to reduce inflammation and swelling. This principal can be applied to both equine and canine patients. In the equine field both swimming and aqua treadmills are used during the rehabilitation process also.