The soft tissues of the body are the muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, and fascia. Soft tissue injuries are typically due to an acute injury or considered repetitive/overuse injuries. Repetitive injuries are common when the same task is performed repeatedly day after day. Strain being placed on the tissues adds up over time and eventually causes pain and dysfunction.
With repetitive injuries, small microtraumas develop within the soft tissues as a task is performed repetitively. Constant use of a hammer or screwdriver, grabbing and gripping objects, or bending and twisting in a certain direction are all examples of ways these microtraumas can develop over time.
As the body repairs the area it lays down small amounts of scar tissue to the damaged area. Over time, as the same motion or activity is performed that scar tissue starts to grow and expand and can affect other surrounding soft tissues. So now adhesions develop in and between the tissues making normal range of motion difficult to achieve. The body has to use more energy and effort and eventually the result is pain and dysfunction.
This cycle continues until something interrupts it. Techniques such as soft tissue tools or Active Release Technique are great ways to break the cycle, allowing the soft tissues to return to their normal length and range of motion, and prevent pain and dysfunction long term.