Sunday, July 17, 2011

Soft Tissue Injury and Scar Tissue


Since scar tissue heals three dimensionally, it does not fall into place like a brick. Instead, scar tissue reaches in the direction of the fascia and the neighbouring muscle sheaths, binding these tissues together. For example, when a runner strains a hamstring, the sheath tear heals and binds to neighbouring muscle sheath. The hamstring muscle group still functions to flex the knee, yet the athlete complains of dull ache or pain in the posterior thigh. The reason may be that independent movement has been lost and the area of scar tissue has limited the extensibility of the myotendinal unit. Muscles do function and limbs do move, but the normal gliding that occurs between neighbouring tissues is lost. As a result, there is a constant low-grade inflammatory process at the site of the decreased mobility. Scar tissue has a poor blood supply and is not as strong or resilient as the primary tissue it replaces. This area will likely be a site of re-injury secondary to the transition zone of normal tissue to scar tissue.

MY COMMENT: One of my former neighbors when I lived in Florida was former U. of Oregon runner Bob Hensley, a physical therapist by trade who happens to be one of a handful of runners who have qualified for the Olympic Trials Marathon FIVE times. I'll never forget how he always stressed the use of deep, painful cross friction massage on soft tissue strains and tendinitis.

I've been battling what seemed like a minor hamstring issue for months now! I've been symptom free than had it flare up at least 6 times. Now I've got the pain localized with finger tip palpitation and have started self-cross friction massage as deep as I can go to prevent this. I'm also using electrical stimulation and yes, trying not to run.

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