How Serious Are Soft Tissue Injuries from Car Accidents?

Our Virginia Beach car accident attorneys know that damage to muscles, tendons, and other soft tissues is among the most common types of injuries that occur in car accidents. Strains, sprains, whiplash, and other soft tissue injuries can result from the sudden impact and force exerted on the body during a collision.

Dealing with these types of injuries requires careful attention and prompt action to ensure proper healing and recovery. It is not uncommon for symptoms of a soft tissue injury to take days or even weeks to emerge. This is why it is crucial to always seek medical attention immediately following an accident, even if you don’t believe you were injured or the injury is just minor. Not getting the medical care you need can not only impact any legal claim you may have but can also lead to serious health complications.

Common Types of Soft Tissue Injuries

Soft tissue injuries happen due to car, bike, or pedestrian accidents. According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS), the muscles, tendons, and ligaments are most often affected. The AAOS reports that the three most common types of soft tissue injuries include:

  • Sprains – Sprains involve the stretching or tearing of ligaments, which are tough bands of tissue that connect bones at joints. They often result from sudden twisting or impact that forces a joint out of its normal position. Symptoms include pain, swelling, bruising, instability of the joint, and difficulty bearing weight. Like strains, sprains can vary in severity from mild to severe.
  • Strains – Strains occur when muscles or tendons are stretched or torn due to overexertion, sudden movement, or improper lifting techniques. Common symptoms include pain, swelling, muscle spasms, and difficulty moving the affected area. Depending on the extent of tissue damage, strains can range from mild to severe.
  • Contusions – Contusions, or bruises, occur when blood vessels beneath the skin are damaged due to direct impact or trauma. They are characterized by discoloration, tenderness, and swelling in the affected area. While contusions typically heal on their own with time, severe contusions may require medical attention to rule out deeper tissue damage or complications.

All of the above need to be taken seriously. Failing to get medical care or disregarding your doctor’s instructions regarding treatment or activity restrictions could leave you suffering potentially permanent disabilities.

Soft Tissue Injury Complications

Treatment for soft tissue injuries generally involves resting the affected area, applying ice to relieve swelling, and taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications. If a tear occurs, your doctor may have to make surgical repairs. In all of these situations, being alert for signs of complications is essential.

While muscle or tendon strains and sprains are often considered minor, they can have significant consequences on your health, including the following complications:

  • Chronic pain – One of the primary complications of soft tissue injuries is chronic pain. This can occur if the injury does not heal correctly or if there are underlying issues such as nerve damage or improper rehabilitation. Chronic pain can significantly affect daily life, mobility, and overall well-being, requiring long-term management strategies.
  • Joint stiffness and reduced range of motion – Injuries to muscles, tendons, or ligaments can lead to joint stiffness and limited range of motion. Without proper rehabilitation and exercises to restore flexibility and strength, joints may become stiff, making it difficult to perform everyday activities and increasing the risk of further injuries.
  • Weakness and muscle atrophy – Prolonged immobilization or inadequate rehabilitation can lead to muscle weakness and atrophy (loss of muscle mass). This can affect the injured area and nearby muscles that compensate for the injury. Rehabilitation exercises are crucial to rebuilding strength and preventing muscle wasting.
  • Scar tissue formation – In some cases, soft tissue injuries can result in scar tissue formation at the injury site. While scar tissue is a natural part of the healing process, excessive scar tissue can cause stiffness, pain, and reduced flexibility. Physical therapy and massage techniques can help manage scar tissue and improve tissue elasticity.
  • Re-injury – A soft tissue injury can take up to one year to heal. Without proper rehabilitation and strengthening exercises, there is a higher risk of re-injury to the same soft tissue area. Weak muscles and tissues are more susceptible to further damage, especially during physical activities or sports.

Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm for Help

If you have suffered soft tissue injury in a vehicle accident, do not delay contacting Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp to schedule a free case evaluation with one of our skilled Virginia Beach car accident attorneys. We will work to get you the financial compensation you deserve for any losses your injuries have caused you to suffer, including medical bills, loss of income, pain and suffering, and more, like the $30,000 jury verdict we were able to secure for one client who suffered whiplash injuries in a multi-vehicle crash.

Call our office today for a free case evaluation. For your convenience, we have offices in Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Hampton, and Portsmouth.