The use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to treat most muscle, ligament and tendon injuries should be reassessed. They have, at best, a mild effect on relieving symptoms and are potentially deleterious to tissue healing. Soft-tissue injury associated with definite inflammatory conditions such as bursitis or synovitis or involving nerve impingement does warrant short-term treatment with NSAIDs. Paracetamol has similar efficacy to NSAIDs in soft-tissue injury, is cheaper, and has a lower side-effect profile. It is the analgesic of choice for most soft-tissue injury. Cyclo-oxygenase-2 (COX-2) inhibitors should not be used to treat soft-tissue injuries unless impingement is a major feature and non-selective NSAIDs are contraindicated (eg, coexisting gastric disorder), and the patient is not at cardiovascular risk. Corticosteroid injections for tendon injuries may achieve a mild to moderate reduction in pain for up to 6 weeks. However, they do not promote tendon healing, so should generally be used only when healing is not a critical goal. Promising new therapeutic treatments for soft-tissue injuries include topical glyceryl trinitrate, aprotinin injections, and prolotherapy.