Health & Safety

November 1, 2012

How to prevent, care for soft tissue injuries at home

Whether active duty, retired or military dependent, many have dealt with a soft tissue injury at one time in their lives. “Shin splints” and “IT-Band Syndrome” are commonly referred to as “myofacial pain.” Although these injuries are common among athletes, even recreational athletes or “weekend warriors” can be prone to these injuries. For example, think of someone in their 30s or 40s training for a first marathon who has never been a runner and is now training five days a week, running 5-10 miles per training session.

In order to best define myofacial pain, one has to take a quick look at soft-tissue anatomy. The superficial fascia is a soft, connective tissue located just below the skin. It wraps and connects the muscles, bones, nerves and blood vessels of the body. Together, muscle and fascia make up what is called the myofascia system. For various reasons, including disuse, not enough stretching or injuries, the fascia and the underlying muscle tissue can become stuck together. This is called an adhesion and it results in restricted muscle movement. It also causes pain, soreness and reduced flexibility or range of motion.

In recent years, health disciplines such as physical therapy, chiropractic and orthopedics have focused on treating these adhesions in the fascia to improve pain, flexibility and to optimize performance in sports. Myofascial release is a body work technique in which a practitioner uses gentle, sustained pressure on the soft tissues while applying traction to the fascia. This technique results in softening and lengthening of the fascia and breaking down scar tissue or adhesions between skin, muscles and bones.

As a physical therapist, the most common areas that I see patients for myofacial release are for IT-Band Syndrome and shin splints. Most of my patients benefit from a few short treatments in-clinic, and then we recommend a home exercise program that incorporates the use of a foam roller. This is a great addition to any home gym. Taking a few minutes at the end of a workout or after a run to focus on sore spots with a foam roller is a great way to prevent myofacial pain.

IT Band (start)

IT Band (finish)

One should foam-roll after their workout. It can be moderately uncomfortable if one is new to using a foam roller or have some significant myofacial pain. Light to mild bruising can be normal for some people. Those who do bruise should start with twice a week foam-rolling and work up to three times a week.

Shin splint (start)

Shin splint (finish)

Make sure to drink water after finishing foam-rolling. Good hydration allows for more nutrients delivered to the tissue and waste products eliminated from the tissue. I would not spend more than five minutes on a single area. When starting out, one may only be able to tolerate 30 seconds at a time; try to do three to four sets of 30 seconds. As the techniques become more tolerable, work on longer time periods up to a maximum of five minutes.

For more information about this article, the techniques in this article or finding a good foam roller, email moshe.greenberg@us.army.mil.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Sparks fly when fireworks are lit — know safety rules

During tomorrow’s July 4th celebration, sparks will fly as people light fireworks. It’s wildfire season, and misuse of fireworks can start a fire which could have devastating effects on the community. When using approved fireworks, be cognizant of the surroundings. The National Fire Protection Association reported that in 2011, fires started by fireworks caused an...
 
 
Mike Williams

Monsoon season is here — use caution when going outdoors

Mike Williams Water races across the road near the Bonnie Blink housing area on post during a monsoon storm last summer. Before crossing, be sure your vehicle has the clearance to make it through a wash if it has water in it. E...
 
 
FEMA photo

Avoid cooking fires at home

FEMA photo When cooking at home, never leave the stove unattended. Make the kitchen a no-children and pet-free zone. Cooking is often a relaxing and fun task that brings family and friends together. It can be a great way to sho...
 

 
mom-and-cub

Bear this in mind — avoid feeding wildlife on post

Arizona is black bear country although their fur can be a variety of colors, and bears can be found in many locations statewide. Those who enjoy the outdoors and regularly hike the mountain trails, should remember that bears, l...
 
 

Commissaries remind patrons to handle food items safely

FORT LEE, Va. — Food safety is a group hug, when you consider everyone who has a role in protecting consumers from foodborne illnesses. For the Defense Commissary Agency, that process begins where the food originates and continues all the way to the store shelf. However, with summer and barbecue season in full swing, DeCA...
 
 

OPM to notify employees of cybersecurity incident

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management, OPM, has identified a cybersecurity incident potentially affecting personnel data for current and former federal employees, including personally identifiable information, or PII. Within the last year, the OPM has undertaken an aggressive effort to update its cybersecurity posture, adding numerous tools and capabilities to its networks. As a result,...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>