Soft Tissue Healing and its Impact on Rehabilitation

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Peggy A. Houglum
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When soft tissue is injured, it must follow a complex healing process. The sports medicine specialist delivering care to an injured athlete should have an appreciation and understanding of the phases and timing of the healing process so that appropriate, efficient, and effective rehabilitation program may be established. This paper presents an overview of the chemical and cellular activity involved in soft tissue healing, with emphasis on those aspects that can be affected by a rehabilitation program. Outside factors commonly used in sports injury care and how they may influence tissue healing are addressed. Guidelines are presented for establishing a sports rehabilitation program based on the physiological effects of the healing process. Various aspects of a rehabilitation program must be carefully coordinated with the timing of tissue healing and designed in a logical sequence to permit successful rehabilitation of the injured athlete in an optimal and efficient manner.

Peggy A. Houglum is with Centinela Medical Center of Manhattan Beach, 2809 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Manhattan Beach, CA 90266.

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