What is a soft tissue injury?
Soft tissue injuries are the most common injury in automobile collisions. They include contusions (bruises), sprains, and strains. A sprain is a partial tear of a ligament and can be caused by a wrench, twist, or sudden acceleration/deceleration. Sprains are caused when a joint is forced beyond its normal range of motion, causing an overstretching and tearing of the ligament that supports the joint. Signs and symptoms of a sprain include swelling, loss of strength in the affected area, possible bruising or sudden onset of pain. In contrast, a strain is an injury to a muscle or tendon and is often caused by force, overstretching, or contracting too quickly, resulting in a partial or complete tear of the muscle or tendon fibers. Signs and symptoms of a strain are swelling, possible bruising, and pain on movement.
A soft tissue injury generally involves one or more of the following body support structures as a result of sprain, strain, or a direct blow:
- Muscle – muscles are the body structural support component that shorten and lengthen to produce movement of a joint. Muscles are attached to bones by tendons.
- Tendon - tendons are elastic connective tissue that connect muscle to bone.
- Ligaments – ligaments are strong bands of inelastic connective tissue that connect bone to bone.
If you have suffered a soft tissue injury as a result of someone else's negligence, you should seek medical attention promptly. After seeking medical attention, you should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney who will be able to assist you in pursuing your claim.
You cannot always see soft tissue injuries, particularly if the only symptom is pain. Many times soft tissue injuries will not show up on diagnostic imaging such as X-rays, MRIs, or CT Scans. However, many times soft tissue injuries will result in the following symptoms:
- Loss of strength
- Reduced range of motion
In some cases, soft tissue injuries can be so severe that spasming of the muscles results. If these muscles are located along the spine, the spasming of the muscles can cause the spine to compress, which can then impact nerves in and coming out of the spine, which can result in the following symptoms radiating into the arms, hands, fingers, legs, feet, or toes:
- Tingling sensations
- Loss of strength
- Reduced reflexes
- Electrical shock feelings
Whiplash is an injury to the neck caused by forceful, rapid back-and-forth movement of the neck and head. Whiplash is commonly caused in rear-end car accidents; however, whiplash can also be caused by head-on collisions or side impacts. Whiplash is commonly referred to as a neck sprain or strain. Some whiplash injuries are diagnosed purely by subjective evidence, meaning the complaint of pain and stiffness by the injured party. However, some whiplash injuries are severe enough so that they can be objectively diagnosed. In these situations, the muscles in the neck contract so tightly that a doctor can actually feel spasming. In addition, when the spasming occurs, the normal curvature of the neck can be affected. This change in curvature may be diagnosed as a reversal of the normal cervical lordosis.
Most soft tissue injuries resolve with appropriate medical treatment and intervention. However, there are some instances where soft tissue injuries are longstanding and even permanent.
We have handled thousands of personal injury claims involving some aspect of soft tissue injury. We are knowledgeable with the medicine associated with soft tissue injury and we know how to present your soft tissue injury to an adjuster or a jury.
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