Injuries – General Terms

|||Injuries – General Terms

General Terms


This is the body’s natural response to injury and can be either acute or chronic. Local blood vessels dilate and increase blood-flow which causes heat, redness and swelling. White blood cells enter the tissues to remove dead and damaged cells, which also adds to the swelling. (The suffix – itis means inflammation e.g. Tendonitis – inflammation of the tendon)


The immediate period following an injury where the tissues have been damaged and bleeding and swelling (inflammation) is taking place within the local area. With proper care the acute phase of a soft tissue injury should only last about 24 to 48 hours.


A lower level of inflammation, pain and damage than the acute condition but it continues for a long period of time. Without proper care acute conditions can often become chronic.

Scar Tissue and Adhesions

The formation of scar tissue is a vital part of the early healing process as it binds the damaged fibres together. But soft tissue injuries can create large amounts of scar tissue, which can form into adhesions which bind adjacent fibres and structures together and restrict their function.

Bone injuries

Fracture – breakage of a bone, can be complete or partial

Stress Fracture – hairline crack in a bone caused by excessive repetitive stress

Periostitis – inflammation of the periosteum, a thin membrane of connective tissue which covers the bone

Joint Injuries

Dislocation (luxation of subluxation) – displacement from the normal position of bones meeting at a joint

Sprain – tearing (complete or partial) of a ligament supporting a joint caused when the joint is forced beyond its normal range

Bursitis – inflammation of a bursa (or fat pad) within a joint caused by pressure or friction

Capsulitis – inflammation of the capsule surrounding the joint

Loose body – a small particle of debris floating in the synovial capsule which can get trapped between the moving structures causing pain and dysfunction

Symptomatic joint pain – imbalance in the muscles can affect the biomechanics of the joint causing micro-trauma, leading to painful symptoms

Scar tissue/Adhesions – scar tissue from inflammation and injury can form adhesions around a joint causing pain and restricting its function

Muscle Injuries

Direct trauma – impact which causes damage (inflammation) to the muscle tissue

Strain, Tear or Rupture – may be complete or partial, caused by overload or overstretch which exceeds the tensile strength of the fibres and so tears them apart

Over-use Strain

Damage builds up gradually as a minor over-use factor causes micro-trauma (damage to a single muscle fibre) to occur over a continued period of time. Symptoms often go unnoticed until it reaches a critical level and there is a sudden onset of pain or muscle spasm. Chronic inflammation can set in without there being an acute phase.

Types of Haematoma (bleeding) in Muscle Injuries


The inflammation and swelling is contained within the muscle compartment causing an increase in pressure. This can slow down the healing process as the excess fluid cannot escape the area easily, and the pressure on blood vessels may also restrict blood flow.


The damage involves more than one compartment in the muscle and there will be tearing through the connective tissue between them. Excess fluid can escape more easily, and discoloration often appears under the skin very quickly. The healing process is often much quicker.

Tendon Injuries

Strain, Tear or Rupture – may be complete or partial, caused by overload, overstretch or a shearing force

Tendonitis – inflammation of the tendon caused by over-use or external rubbing pressure