A soft tissue injury occurs when you have damaged ligaments, tendons, and/or muscles. Ligaments connect bones to one another to stabilize joints while tendons attach the muscles to the bones. Sprains, strains, and hard blows are usually the underlying causes of soft tissue injuries.
This type of injury can be very painful or uncomfortable and can cause serious long-term damage. In fact, recovering from a soft tissue injury can take a very long time. This is due in part to the fact that when you move, you are actually aggravating your injury. Each movement slows the healing process.
Seeking Medical Attention for Soft Tissue Injuries
Soft tissue injuries are sometimes more difficult to diagnose because they often do not appear right after an accident. Instead, it can take several hours to several days for the injury to cause pain or show swelling or bruising. When they do appear, the pain may take some time to set in, so you do not feel the full force of the injury until sometime later. Soft tissue injuries also do not appear on X-rays, making them harder to recognize and treat.
If you have been involved in an accident, and you think that you may have suffered soft tissue damage, it is important to see a medical professional. Soft tissue injuries can be severely debilitating in some situations. Your health care provider can help you heal faster and provide ways to deal with the pain.
He or she can also provide documentation that you may need if you decide to bring a personal injury lawsuit related to the accident. You will need to be able to show the types of injuries you sustained because of the accident, and having medical records is a great way to do that.
Common Types of Soft Tissue Injuries
There are many types of soft tissue injuries, but some occur far more often in accidental injury cases than others.
One of the most common types of soft tissue damage occurs in the neck. It is commonly referred to as “whiplash.” Whiplash occurs when the neck is suddenly stretched very far and then quickly contracted to its limits. It is commonly associated with rear-end collisions.
Whiplash is associated with pain in the neck, but it can also cause other side effects that you may not expect, including:
- Weakness in the arms or hands
- Dizziness or vomiting
- Ringing of the ears
- Blurred vision
- Muscle spasms in the back
- Problems with memory or concentration
If whiplash is left untreated, it can cause serious long term problems. Without treatment, patients complain of chronic pain and discomfort in the neck and back on an almost constant basis.
A sprain is a tear of the ligament. It can be either partial or complete. It is caused by an over-extension of a joint. Wrists, ankles, and knees are especially prone to sprains. For example, if you fall and land on your hand, then you may have overextended your wrist, causing a sprain. Sprains vary from mild to very severe.
Serious sprains must be supported while they heal, so movement is inhibited.
A strain involves an injury to either a tendon or muscle, separating the two. Usually it is caused by twisting, pulling, or overuse. Sudden strains are usually the result of recent trauma, like a car accident. Back sprains are by far the most common strain following an auto accident.
A back strain (or sprain) is likely associated with severe lower back pain. It is also usually accompanied by muscle spasms that are painful and occur randomly throughout the back. It can limit range of motion and inhibit your ability to maintain correct posture.
Bruising is very common after any physical trauma. Most bruising is painful, but the pain will subside with rest. However, some serious bruises can actually cause permanent damage. If you have a serious bruise, it is best to seek the advice of a medical professional.
Some nerve damage can also considered soft tissue damage. It is a common side effect of serious back and neck injuries. If you have any of the following symptoms, you may be suffering from nerve damage:
- Dry eyes and mouth
- Bladder dysfunction
- Tingling or prickling
- Burning sensations
Seek medical help immediately if you have any combination of these symptoms following an accident.
The Occurrence of Soft Tissue Accident Injuries
Even low-speed car accidents can cause serious soft tissue damage. Soft tissue injuries are also very common following many types of accidents:
- Boating accidents
- Bus accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Motorcycle accidents
- Products liability
- Pedestrian accidents
- Dog bite claims
NOTE: Common insurance industry tactics try to avoid payment for soft tissue injuries, specifically when there is a minimal amount of damage done to the vehicles. However, an experienced injury lawyer understands that you can fall and break your hip on the sidewalk, but the concrete sidewalk itself does not crack. Don’t fall prey to these common insurance industry schemes.
Receiving Compensation for Soft Tissue Injuries
The Dixon Injury Firm understands that even soft tissue damages can have a serious impact on your everyday life. For example, they can severely constrain your daily activities because you cannot move as well without pain. Long-term problems are not uncommon in situations where serious soft issue injuries occur.
Because soft tissue injuries are harder to prove, insurance companies often downplay their importance when discussing settlement offers. The insurance company may tell you that it is just a sprain and it will heal, but it is possible that the injury is much more serious than you even realize. In fact, some soft tissue injuries may never heal completely.
Take the time to visit a medical professional to document your symptoms. If your symptoms do not subside, you will need proof to show the insurance company that you are not healing as fast as they thought that you would.
The Dixon Injury Firm can help you gather the evidence you need to get the compensation you deserve for your soft tissue injury. These injuries can be even more serious than a simple broken bone, so do not let the insurance company tell you otherwise. Get legal back up by calling The Dixon Injury Firm at 314-409-7060.