Physician Led • Outcomes Centered • Patient Focused

ASTYM Treatment for Chronic Injury

Athletes deal with injuries; it comes with the territory. Injuries can be acute or chronic; short-lived or long-standing, traumatic or from overuse. In this post we will be addressing chronic, soft tissue injury: muscle, tendon, ligament. Injuries of this nature can come from unresolved trauma or chronic micro-injury. Regardless, chronic pain is a result of either an inadequate or exaggerated healing response. This leads to either incomplete repair or overproduction of scar tissue. The longer your pain has persisted, the less likely it is that inflammation is present. Often, these injuries become issues of scar tissue. The long time frame also means that the body’s healing process has burned itself out and active healing is no longer taking place.

Common Injuries

Treatable injuries include but are not limited to tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow, plantar fasciitis, hamstring strain, patellar tendinitis, Achilles tendinitis, shin splints, IT band syndrome, ankle sprains, shoulder tendinitis/impingement, and carpal tunnel.


ASTYM is a manual physical therapy treatment technique that utilizes a set of plastic tools/instruments. It is an approach that addresses problems such as scarring, fibrosis, and degeneration that occur in soft tissues. We use the instruments over the skin, applying deep pressure in parallel with healthy tissue , to locate problem areas and restart that body’s healing process.


ASTYM Plan of Care

The most common question I receive as a physical therapist is “Can I continue to be active while receiving treatments?” My answer is always a resounding “YES!” As tissue turns over and begins to heal it is important to introduce and expose it to the activities that it will need to tolerate. The body remodels tissue according to the stress that is placed through it.  Exercise and training volume may need to be modified initially while the tissue’s tolerance improves, but activity as tolerated is very important. I will give you stretches to be completed daily. It is important to perform these stretches 4-5 times per day. We will also address muscular weakness both in the involved tissue and in other muscles involved in the kinetic chain. These will most likely be performed 1-2 times per day but may be adjusted at the therapist’s discretion.  The time frame of the injury often dictates how quickly your tissue will heal. Often, patients will notice significant improvement in 3-4 visits, but chronic injuries may take between 6-8 visits before significant improvement is noticed. As with any deep tissue technique proper hydration is important in the healing process, so make sure you are drinking plenty of water throughout the day.

If you are dealing with chronic soft tissue injury ASTYM therapy may be the conservative treatment approach for you! A personalized physical therapy treatment plan including ASTYM and guided activity will help rid you of that nagging injury.

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  1. […] Physical therapy with ASTYM – a form of soft tissue massage that promotes healing.  Stadia was the first clinic in the city of Des Moines to offer ASTYM as a treatment tool, and Dr. Carlson trained with the founder of the technology.  Patients considering ASTYM should consider Stadia, which has the most experience with this approach of any clinic in Des Moines. […]