Sooner or later in any sport worth its title ‘sport’ athletes pick up some kind of soft tissue injury. What you do in the immediate hours and days following dictates how quickly you get back to training and your best. And that all starts with understanding the four phases of soft tissue healing.
The 4 Phases in Soft Tissue Injury Healing:
- the Bleeding phase – this typically lasts 0-2 hours; then as the internal bleeding reduces the body moves into,
- the Inflammation phase – this typically lasts 24 to 48 hours for a milder injury but can be up a week plus for more extensive injuries. This is when the injured body part swells and that throbbing aching pain dominates.
- the Repair phase – the body starts to lay down scar tissue to patch up the torn fibres (the damaged cells); this stage typically lasts a few days to a few weeks (depending how bad the initial injury was) as the body rebuilds the injured part. When the tensile strength is strong enough you as the athlete tend not to notice the injury anymore; however,
- the Remodelling phase – goes on for many months as the new tissue becomes more and more well organised, performs better biomechanically and becomes better structured.
Pete Jowsey MSc MMACP MCSP HCPC www.pjphysio.co.uk