Soft Tissue Injuries After a Car Accident
Soft tissue injuries refer to damage done to any soft tissue in the body, but the most common involve the muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Due to the fact that these injuries are not as visible as others, you may not recognize them immediately after a car accident. However, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible after a crash so that if you do have soft tissue damage, you can receive prompt treatment.
What Are the Types of Soft Tissue Injuries?
Soft tissue injuries sustained during a car accident are known as an acute injury because a crash is considered sudden trauma. The most common types of soft tissue injuries after a crash include:
- Sprains: A sprain occurs when a ligament is torn or stretched. Ligaments are tissues that connect the bones together. During a car crash, a motorist may sprain an ankle or wrist, as these areas are very close to parts of the car such as the steering wheel and brake pedal.
- Strains: Although many people sometimes use the terms “sprains” and “strains” interchangeably, they are two different injuries. A strain occurs when a muscle or tendon becomes damaged. Tendons connect the muscles to the bones and typically become injured when they are torn or stretched. During a car accident, it is common for tendons in the back, legs, and feet to become strained.
- Contusions: This is the medical term for a bruise, and although many people think that they are very minor, that is not always the case. When a person is in a collision, different parts of the body can hit part of the vehicle. When it does, muscle fibers and connective tissues are crushed and blood pools around the site of the injury.
- Whiplash: One of the most common soft tissue injuries sustained during a car crash, whiplash can also be very serious. This injury occurs when the neck moves back and forth in rapid succession while the body remains still. While the neck is moving, the muscles and tendons in the neck become stretched, and sometimes even torn. Whiplash can take months to recover from and is a very painful injury.
- Bursitis: The bursa refers to the sacs that surround the joints. When they become inflamed, the condition is known as bursitis. A forceful blow during a car crash may cause this injury.
- Tendonitis: Tendons have sheaths that cover them, and when either the tendon or the sheath becomes inflamed or irritated, it is referred to as tendinitis. Like bursitis, if an accident victim sustains a forceful blow during a collision, he or she may suffer from tendonitis.
Soft tissue injuries are difficult to identify, so it is important to always seek medical attention after a crash, particularly if you are feeling any pain at all.
Why Are Soft Tissue Injuries Dangerous?
People who sustain soft tissue injuries often do not know how serious these injuries can be, which is what makes them so dangerous. After a collision, accident victims should always see a doctor who can perform a full examination and make a correct diagnosis. Without an actual diagnosis, it is impossible to determine what injury was sustained and, therefore, what treatment is appropriate. Soft tissue injuries that are not properly treated will only become worse, and eventually, surgery may be required. Also, the longer someone goes without treatment, the more debilitating their injury will become.
What Are the Symptoms of Soft Tissue Injuries?
It is important that all injured individuals are able to recognize the symptoms of a soft tissue injury. Sharing this information with a doctor will help to diagnose the condition. The most common symptoms of soft tissue injuries include:
- Limited range of motion
- Muscle weakness
- Muscles that cramp or spasm
- An inability to bear weight on the injured part of the body
- A knot or lump at the site of the injury
- Instability in the joints
- Visible bruising
How Is a Soft Tissue Injury Treated?
Most soft tissue injuries are treated by resting the area and using the “RICE” formula. RICE stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Usually cold is applied to the injury for a certain period of time, and gentle compression helps reduce the amount of swelling at the site. Elevating the injury above the level of the heart can also drain fluid away from the area, which helps reduce swelling. Until the injury has healed, it is best that accident victims rest and avoid using the affected area. However, this often means missing work for a period of time.
In addition to following the RICE formula, a victim may require rehabilitative therapy or even surgery to treat their injuries.
What Is the Most Common Soft Tissue Injury from a Car Accident?
Whiplash is the most common soft tissue injury accident victims sustain during a car accident. Although many people think this is a minor injury, that is not true. Whiplash is extremely painful and greatly reduces a person’s mobility. It can also take several months to recover from, and physical therapy is often necessary to restore the full range of motion. Whiplash is extremely common in rear-end accidents.
Our Indiana Car Accident Lawyers Can Help with Your Claim
Due to the fact that soft tissue injuries are not as immediately recognized as other injuries after a crash, claims for compensation can be even more difficult to prove. If you have sustained a soft tissue injury after a collision, call our Fort Wayne car accident lawyers at Truitt Law Offices. We know how to establish who was liable for your crash and how to prove the extent of your injuries so you can demand the full compensation you deserve.
Call us today or contact us online to schedule a free case evaluation with one of our experienced car accident lawyers.