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Concept: Soft tissue injury


Cycling has been shown to confer considerable benefits in terms of health, leading to reductions in death rates principally due to cardiovascular improvements and adaptation. Given the disparity between the benefits of cycling on cardiovascular fitness and previous research finding that cycling may not be beneficial for bone health, Hugo Olmedillas and colleagues performed a systematic review of the literature. They concluded that road cycling does not appear to confer any significant osteogenic benefit. They postulate that the cause of this is that, particularly at a competitive level, riders spend long periods of time in a weight-supported position on the bike. Training programs may be supplemented with impact loading to preserve bone health; however, the small increased risk of soft tissue injury must also be considered. See related research article

Concepts: Academic publishing, Research, Tissues, Cycling, Soft tissue, Position, Employee benefit, Soft tissue injury


Evidence from familial and genetic association studies have reported that DNA sequence variants play an important role, together with non-genetic factors, in the aetiology of both exercise-associated and occupational-associated acute and chronic musculoskeletal soft tissue injuries. The associated variants, which have been identified to date, may contribute to the interindividual variation in the structure and, by implication, mechanical properties of the collagen fibril and surrounding matrix within musculoskeletal soft tissues, as well as their response to mechanical loading and other stimuli. Future work should focus on the establishment of multidisciplinary international consortia for the identification of biologically relevant variants involved in modulating injury risk. These consortia will improve the limitations of the published hypothesis-driven genetic association studies, since they will allow resources to be pooled in recruiting large well-characterised cohorts required for whole-genome screening. Finally, clinicians and coaches need to be aware that many direct-to-consumer companies are currently marketing genetic tests directly to athletes without it being requested by an appropriately qualified healthcare professional, and without interpretation alongside other clinical indicators or lifestyle factors. These specific genetic tests are premature and are not necessarily required to evaluate susceptibility to musculoskeletal soft tissue injury. Current practice should rather consider susceptibility through known risk factors such as a positive family history of a specific injury, a history of other tendon and/or ligament injuries and participation in activities associated with the specific musculoskeletal injuries. Potential susceptible athletes may then be individually managed to reduce their risk profile.

Concepts: DNA, Biology, Soft tissue sarcoma, Tissues, Injuries, Soft tissue, Genetic association, Soft tissue injury


Matrix metalloproteinase-3 (MMP3) is a mediator of matrix remodelling and a proposed susceptibility locus in the genetic profile of musculoskeletal soft tissue injuries. Therefore, this study aimed to validate the MMP3 gene as a risk marker for these injuries by conducting a case control genetic association study in two independent samples groups. Three previously investigated MMP3 variants (rs679620, rs591058 and rs650108) in addition to the functional promoter variant (rs3025058) were genotyped in 195 Australian control participants and 79 Australian individuals with chronic Achilles tendinopathy. Similarly, 234 South African individuals with acute anterior cruciate ligament ruptures and 232 matched control participants were also analysed. Based on high linkage with the previously associated MMP3 variant rs679620, rs3025058 was inferred and found to be associated with increased risk for Achilles tendinopathy within the South African group (P = 0.012; OR: 2.88; 95% CI: 1.4 to 6.1). Lastly, the 6A-G-C-G haplotype, constructed from the investigated variants, was significantly associated with reduced risk for Achilles tendinopathy (29% CON vs. 20% TEN, P = 0.037) in the Australian group. In conclusion, a signal surrounding MMP3 is apparent with respect to Achilles tendinopathy. However, whether the investigated variants are contributing to injury susceptibility or whether they are merely linked to the risk conferring variants mapping elsewhere within the MMP gene cluster on chromosome 11, still requires refining.

Concepts: Gene, Chromosome, Knee, Anterior cruciate ligament, Ligament, Genetic association, Cruciate ligament, Soft tissue injury


Motorcyclists represent an increasing proportion of road users globally and are increasingly represented in crash statistics. Soft tissue injuries are the most common type of injuries to crashed motorcyclists. These injuries can be prevented through the use of protective clothing designed for motorcycle use. However, the quality of such clothing is not controlled in many countries around the world. A European Standard was developed to assess the performance of clothing but as this is not mandatory, clothing certified to this Standard is difficult to obtain. Given the importance of this Standard, and that it has been validated only once, further validation work is required.

Concepts: Statistics, Validation, Quality, Injuries, Wound, Test method, Standard, Soft tissue injury


The clinical management of soft tissue injuries of the lower limb commonly includes physical agents such as electrotherapy or ultrasound. However, the evidence about the effectiveness of physical agents varies, and their use remains controversial. A systematic review of randomized clinical trials (RCTs), published in the July 2016 issue of JOSPT, examined the benefits and safety risks of various physical agents for soft tissue injuries of the lower limb. Importantly, the review looked closely at the quality of the RCTs and focused on studies with low risk of bias. In this Perspectives for Practice, the authors explain the impact of their findings for clinicians treating patients with such musculoskeletal conditions. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther 2016;46(7):555. doi:10.2519/jospt.2016.0503.

Concepts: Clinical trial, Evidence-based medicine, Systematic review, Randomized controlled trial, Effectiveness, Injuries, Clinical research, Soft tissue injury


The goal of this study was to assess the incidence of soft tissue injury in the tibial plateau fracture by magnetic resonance image (MRI) and reveal the relationship between the articular widening/depression and the risk of meniscus and ligament disorder. A total of 54 patients with tibial plateau fracture were indicated for operative intervention. Soft tissue injuries were assessed by MRI. Meniscus, anterior/posterior cruciate ligaments and medial/lateral collateral ligaments injuries on MRI were evaluated. The articular widening/depression was measured in picture archiving and communication systems. Schatzker classification of fracture types was not significantly associated with soft tissue injuries. The rates of soft tissue injury in types IV and II (respectively, 85.7 and 74.1 %) were higher than those in other types. The meniscus injury was the most common soft tissue damage, and the incidence of meniscus injury was 55.6 %. When LPDCT and LPWCT were, respectively, about 7.6 mm and 10.1 mm and LPDX-ray and LPWX-ray, respectively, 5.6 and 7.4 mm, more attention should be paid on the collateral and cruciate ligament injuries in types I, II and III. Furthermore, when LPWCT and LPWX-ray were, respectively, about 10.3 and 8.6 mm, the collateral and cruciate ligaments were susceptible to injury in types IV and V. In conclusion, tibial plateau fracture can occur high morbidity of soft tissue injury, including meniscus and ligament disorder. X-ray and CT scan had different predicting standards for soft tissue injury, and the articular widening/depression in the tibial plateau was associated with meniscus and ligament injuries.

Concepts: Bone, Medical imaging, Magnetic resonance imaging, Knee, Anterior cruciate ligament, Radiology, Ligaments, Soft tissue injury


The main aims of managing thoracolumbar fractures involve stabilization of traumatized regions, to promote vertebral healing or segmental fusion. Recently, percutaneous pedicle screw fixation has evolved as an alternative approach for the treatment of thoracolumbar fractures, aiming to minimize soft tissue injury and perioperative morbidity. A systematic review and meta-analysis was conducted to compare outcomes of percutaneous versus open pedicle screw fixation for thoracolumbar fractures.

Concepts: Comparison, Evidence-based medicine, Tissues, Injuries, Soft tissue, Meta-analysis, Comparative, Soft tissue injury


Pilon fractures are uncommon, representing approximately 5-10 % of all lower limb fractures. Pilon fractures are often associated with serious soft tissue injuries resulting in initial external fixation followed by internal fixation once the condition of the soft tissues has improved. Articular distal fractures of the tibia are classified as B3, C1, C2 and C3 fractures according to the AO Classification. Pilon fractures are usually the result of a high energy trauma. A low energy trauma such as a twisting injury of the ankle can also lead to a pilon fracture. Such low energy mechanisms of injury are rarely associated with significant soft tissue injury and can be immediately fixated internally. Pilon fractures are often associated with an unsatisfactory healing response. This is a result of a combination of factors including the severity of the trauma, the extent of the initial soft tissue injury and the accuracy of the articular surface reconstruction.

Concepts: Soft tissue sarcoma, Tissues, Injuries, Orthopedic surgery, Soft tissue, Physical trauma, Human leg, Soft tissue injury


The tibia shaft is the most often fractured long bone of human beings. Among others traffic accidents (37.5 %), falls (17.8 %), sport accidents (30.9 %) and assaults (4.5 %) are typical mechanisms. A brief clinical examination including the correct classification of the fracture pattern and even more important the degree of the soft tissue damage are the most crucial factors for the following therapeutic cascade. This follows a defined algorithm based on the degree of soft tissue damage. As biplanar X-ray diagnostics are obligatory, CT scans are subject to complex fracture patterns and accompanying intraarticular pathologies.The treatment of tibial shaft fractures is the preserve of operative stabilization, which should be done primarily depending on the degree of the soft tissue injury. Here intramedullary methods - especially intramedullary nailing - are the golden standard.The most serious complication of these fractures is the development of a compartment syndrome. This requires rapid diagnosis and an adequate surgical management in order to avoid extensive muscle necrosis with ischaemic contractures and irreversible neurovascular deficits. Apart from postoperative infections, which are the predominant complication especially in open injuries, non union provide typical and late complications which are partly difficult to treat. These should, depending on their type, follow a dedicated treatment algorithm.

Concepts: Osteoporosis, Bone, Bone fracture, Fracture, Injuries, Injury, Necrosis, Soft tissue injury


Tibial plateau fractures or knee fracture-dislocations often result from trauma or sporting injuries. Given the subcutaneous position of the knee and upper tibia, without much intervening soft tissue, any such injury can be associated with significant soft tissue damage. Thus, consideration of the degree of soft tissue injury must be part of the treatment plan. Specific management decisions regarding blisters, open wounds, and compartment syndrome are discussed, as well as the timing of surgery, role of provisional external fixation, and placement of incisions for definitive internal fixation.

Concepts: Surgery, Management, Injuries, Injury, Wound, Physical trauma, Damage, Soft tissue injury