Accidents and injuries can occur in a variety of situations. Even a seemingly minor muscle strain or sprain can leave you unable to work, while facing the need for ongoing care and treatment. Soft tissue injuries are among the most frequently cited in personal injury claims. The following outlines some of the ways these injuries commonly occur as well as the impact they can have on your physical health and your financial security, both now and in the years to come.
Types of Soft Tissue Injuries and How They Occur
According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), soft tissue injuries generally comprise the following:
- Ligament sprains, which pull or tear the tissues connecting bones and joints.
- Muscle or tendon strains, which stretch or tear the soft tissues connecting muscles and bones.
- Contusions, which cause bruising when the connective tissues beneath the skin are crushed as the result of bumps or blows, causing discoloration as blood pools at the injury site. Bruising is generally not considered a serious health concern, but it can result in permanent nerve damage.
The above injuries can occur in car, bike, or pedestrian accidents, due to slips or falls, or as the result of sports and recreational activities. Treatment often involves the use of ice, compression, and elevation to reduce swelling. In severe cases, surgery may be needed to repair the damage. Even in cases involving minor soft tissue injuries, lengthy recuperation times are often required to avoid re-injuring the site.
Potential Long-Term Impacts of Soft Tissue Injuries
A common misconception is that recovery from soft tissue injuries takes between four to eight weeks, when the actual time is closer to a year or more. There are three specific phases in soft tissue healing:
- Acute inflammatory phase: Lasts 72 hours and involves the use of ice and elevation
- Phase of repair: It takes six to eight weeks for the damaged tissues and fibers to repair themselves
- Phase of remodeling: It takes a year or more for the soft tissues to become stronger and begin moving in the same pattern as the surrounding, undamaged tissues
This final phase is often where patients experience the most problems, as damaged muscles, tendons, and ligaments tend to be weaker and less elastic. Studies show that roughly two thirds of people with soft tissue injuries continue to suffer lingering disabilities that impair their ability to work even a decade or more after the injury originally occurred.
Get Help With Your Case
If you or someone you care about has suffered a soft tissue injury as the result of an accident, contact the Anastopoulo Law Firm right away. Our personal injury attorneys understand the impacts these injuries can have on your life and the ongoing expenses you are likely to incur. We can advise you on the best course of legal action so that you can get the compensation you deserve.