Muscles are a key element in the musculoskeletal system. Together with the joints, they have the task of providing mobility and stabilization of the body. Muscle tissue has several basic qualities that determine its overall function. They are stretchability, elasticity, excitability and contractile ability. Muscles are composed mainly of contractile elements, but their structure also includes non-contractile tissues – tendons and fascia. Therefore, errors in the training process and excessive loads that exceed their mechanical strength are the main cause of muscle and tendon injuries.
The frequency of muscle and tendon injuries in sports practice is among the highest. This type of injury is associated with rupture of fascial, muscle and tendon fibers, which often leads to the inability to practice sports. This type of injury occurs suddenly, without warning symptoms. They usually occur when a contracted muscle undergoes a sharp stretch. The flexors, adductors and muscles of the hind thighs are most commonly affected. Deteriorated elasticity and fatigue are predisposing factors, especially in the sports practice of dynamic disciplines such as football, athletics, basketball and others.
Classification of muscle and tendon injuries
Soft tissue injuries are generally classified as contusions and ruptures. Injuries result from a direct hit. They are characterized by a lack of rupture of basic tissue structures, but damaged blood and lymph vessels cause pain and swelling, which impair function. Ruptures can be micro, partial or complete. Microruptures affect a small part of the tissue structure. Pain and swelling develop, the function of the affected motor segment is not affected. Frequent micro-ruptures and their inadequate repair can cause degenerative changes in the tissue, which will affect its mechanical strength and make it easily vulnerable. In partial ruptures, the fascia is torn, along with some of the fibers. This leads not only to pain, bruising and swelling but also to impaired function. These ruptures are treated conservatively for several weeks with the help of physiotherapy and kinesitherapy. Complete ruptures are severe injuries that cause complete loss of motor function and require surgical repair.
Prevention and treatment
Damage to muscles and tendons impairs the action of the affected muscle. Partial ruptures cause pain when the affected muscle contracts or stretches. Full ruptures lack function. Diagnosis is made after a thorough examination by an orthopedist. Depending on the severity of the injury, the treatment continues in the physiotherapy and kinesitherapy unit, which occupies an important place in the recovery process until complete functional recovery of the affected area.
Prevention of muscle and tendon injuries consists in maintaining good soft tissue elasticity, as well as good muscle tone and balance. This will ensure not only the least load on the joint surfaces and the joint apparatus, but also the correct arrangement of the muscle insertions and allinization of the muscle tension. The rule of gradual exercise, a good ratio of rest and exercise and last but not least hydration also play an important role.