Do you know your genetic risk for soft tissue injuries?
By understanding your genetic profile, you can then adapt your training and sport activities in order to avoid injuries.
Soft tissue injuries are the most common injury in sports and the tissues that are commonly damaged are muscles, tendons, ligaments and nerves. This kind of wounds often occur during sports, training and fitness, but sometimes it can happen during simple everyday activities like walking.
The role of soft tissues is to connect, support or surround other structures of our body, what makes them quite exposed to injuries. And even with appropriate treatment, these injuries may require a prolonged amount of time to heal.
Different types of soft tissue injuries
There are different types of soft tissue injuries.
Sprains (also known as torn ligaments), strains (an injury to a muscle or to a tendon) and contusions (commonly called a bruise), as well as tendinitis (inflammation of a tendon) and bursitis (inflammation of the fluid-filled sacs that cushion the bones, tendons and muscles) are common soft-tissue injuries
The soft tissue injuries fall into two basic categories: acute injuries and overuse injuries.
Acute injuries are caused by a sudden trauma, such as a fall, twist, or blow to the body, where signs and symptoms develop rapidly. Examples of an acute injury include sprains, strains, and contusions. While overuse injuries occur as a result of repetitive friction, pulling, twisting or compression that develops over time. They occur gradually over time when an athletic or other activity is repeated so often, areas of the body do not have enough time to heal between occurrences. The best examples of soft-tissue overuse injuries are tendinitis and bursitis.
Are you prone to Achilles tendon injury?
Many professional athletes suffer from Achilles tendon injury. Problems occur with an excessive and repetitive load which surpasses the tendon’s ability of regeneration, and this leads to a state called Achilles tendinopathy.
The cause for Achilles tendinopathy is, in addition to wrong training, also our genetic makeup, which determines the ﬂexibility of the tendon. If our Achilles tendon is not ﬂexible as much as it should be, we are more prone to injury.
Discover your genetic risk for soft tissue injuries
Our genetic makeup has a great contribution to our susceptibility to the soft tissue injuries. By understanding our genes, we can adopt an appropriate training program to avoid getting hurt while exercising.
If by doing the genetic test you’ll learn that you are prone to this kind of injuries, you can then modify your training to avoid injuries in the future. Knowing your genetic predisposition for this type of injury can save you time spent in the recovery and unnecessary aches.
For someone with a higher risk for soft tissue injury, warming up before exercising is even more important. Uphill training, excessive plyometric training or excessive speed training might be a problem. Running on the soft sand beach is also not recommended.
What to do if you injure yourself?
When an acute injury happens, initial treatment with the R.I.C.E. protocol (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation) is normally very effective.
- Rest – You’ll have to give a break from the activity that caused the injury.
- Ice – Using cold packs for 20 minutes at a time, several times a day, is known to help.
- Compression – Wear an elastic compression bandage to prevent additional swelling and blood loss.
- Elevation – Elevating the injury higher than your heart while resting can help to reduce swelling.
For some cases, the P.O.L.I.C.E. principle (Protect, Optimally Load, Ice, Compress and Elevate) seems to be more efficient. No HARM protocol – no heat, no alcohol, no running or activity, and no massage – is also adopted in some cases to ensure decreased bleeding and swelling in the injured area. No need to say that consulting with your doctor is the best way to learn which treatment is recommended for your case.