Soft Tissue Mobilization

Soft Tissue Mobilization: Everything You Need to Know

Soft tissue mobilization is a form of manual physical therapy involving hands-on techniques on your muscles, ligaments and fascia. Your licensed physical therapist will work with your body, with the goal of breaking adhesions and optimizing your muscle function. 


Adhesions are your body’s way of trying to heal a soft tissue injury with an intense and lengthy inflammation process. This process results in long strands of collagenous scar tissue. Because these new tissues pull against one another, they cause trigger points of pain. 


There are many  injuries or strains that can lead to adhesions within your soft tissue. If you are experiencing restrictions in your connective tissue, degeneration, knots, or chronic inflammation, soft tissue mobilization may be able to help you! With a wide variety of physical therapy options, Oklahoma Hand and Physical Therapy can help develop a customized treatment plan to best suit your needs.

What Are the Goals of Soft Tissue Mobilization?

Soft tissue mobilization seeks to:


  • Break down or reduce adhesions
  • Improve range of motion
  • Lengthen muscles and tendons
  • Reduce swelling and edema
  • Decrease pain
  • Restore functionality

What Conditions Can Be Treated With Soft Tissue Mobilization?

Because a variety of conditions can cause adhesions within the soft tissue, soft tissue mobilization can be useful in an array of situations. Some of the conditions that can benefit from soft tissue mobilization include:


  • Muscle strains
  • Ligament sprains
  • Joint swelling
  • Neck pain
  • Heel pain
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Rotator cuff tendinitis
  • Trigger finger
  • Hip pain
  • Back pain
  • Non-acute bursitis
  • Post surgical scars
  • Myofascial pain
  • Shin splints
  • And more!

Soft Tissue Mobilization Techniques

Your licensed PT is specially trained to use his or her hands to push, pull, and knead your muscles, tendons, ligaments, and nerves in specific and precise ways, contributing to pain relief and restoring functionality.


Specific techniques for soft tissue mobilization include:

Sustained Pressure

pushing directly on restricted tissue, and holding

Unlocking Spiral

pushing on the restricted tissue in alternating clockwise and counterclockwise rotating motions

Direct Oscillations

rhythmic pushing on the restricted tissue

Perpendicular Mobilization

pushing on the myofascial tissue at right angles

Parallel Mobilization

pushing along the seams of muscles

Perpendicular Strumming

rhythmic pushing along muscle border, followed by rubbing of top of muscle

Friction Massage

pushing across the grain of the muscles, tendons, and ligaments

Soft tissue mobilization techniques require significant training in human anatomy and physiology, as well as the understanding of how manipulation of tissues will impact physical function. Physical therapists specialize in evaluation, assessment, and treatment of movement function disorders, and soft tissue mobilization is just one of the many strategies we use to help you meet your functional goals! Call us today!

How Can We Help You?

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