What is Soft-Tissue Release?
Soft-tissue release (STR) is an injury treatment technique developed in Europe with the world’s fastest sprinters. STR deals directly with the reasons for soft-tissue dysfunctions and subsequent referred pain and nerve entrapment.
In acute conditions, STR affects the way scar tissue is formed, and in chronic conditions, STR breaks up the fibrotic and adhered mass of scar tissue to quickly allow the muscle to return to its natural resting length. The client is placed in a particular position so that the muscle begins to stretch in a very specific direction or plane. When the location of the injury has been defined, pressure is applied directly into the affected tissue or along a specific line of injury. At the same time, the client is given a set of instructions that engage the antagonist of the muscles involved. The muscle is extended from a fixed position in a determined direction under a pinpoint of pressure.
More Evidence for the Effectiveness of Soft-Tissue Therapies
A systematic review published in Manual Therapy found that manual soft-tissue therapies are effective in treating certain musculoskeletal disorders and injuries, including carpal tunnel syndrome, lateral epicondylitis, and plantar fasciitis.
The review critically appraised seven articles published between 1990 and 2015, with the purpose of clarifying the role of soft-tissue therapies in the management of upper and lower extremity musculoskeletal disorders and injuries. The review concluded that:
• Myofascial release therapy was effective for treating lateral epicondylitis and plantar fasciitis.
• Movement re-education was effective for managing lateral epicondylitis.
• Localized relaxation massage combined with multimodal care may provide short-term benefit for treating carpal tunnel syndrome.