Why is it Important to Get Proper Treatment For “Soft Tissue Injuries”?
When people worry about injuries after an accident, they are often more concerned about the most dramatic type of injuries–bone fractures, brain damage, bloody lacerations, etc. But slip and falls, car crashes, and other injurious events can cause damage to the body’s muscles, tendons, joints, and ligaments. These injuries can be harder to detect, especially at first, and they may or may not be visible from the outside. Nevertheless, these “soft tissue” injuries can lead to chronic pain, functional limitations, and overall decreased capacity to enjoy life’s activities if left undiagnosed and untreated. Read on for a discussion of the importance of treating soft tissue injuries, and reach out to an experienced Lancaster personal injury lawyer if you or someone you care about has been hurt by someone else’s negligence in the Antelope Valley.
What is a Soft Tissue Injury?
The phrase “soft tissue injury” describes injuries to the body’s “soft” tissues, as opposed to the harder tissue (the bones). Soft tissue injuries include:
- Sprains (partial tear to a ligament)
- Tendonitis (inflammation of the tendons)
- Strains (injury to a muscle or tendon)
- Stress injuries
- Bursitis (inflammation of the fluid-filled sacs called bursae that cushion the bones, tendons, and muscles near the joints)
Soft tissue injuries can occur anywhere on the body, but they are especially common in the ankles, knees, and wrists. Soft tissue injuries are characterized by pain, swelling, bruising, and other damage. Soft tissue injuries can lead to functional limitations and take an extended period of time to heal.
Dangers of Soft Tissue Injuries
Soft tissue injuries range in terms of severity. There are three general levels, or grades, of soft tissue injury:
- Grade 1 (Mild). Microscopic damage due to overstretching, resulting in tenderness or swelling.
- Grade 2 (Moderate). Some degree of tearing, which can feel like abnormal looseness and result in pain, swelling, and tenderness. The patient may not be able to apply pressure to the injured joint.
- Grade 3 (Severe). Full or complete tears, necessitating a significantly longer recovery time. Patients may be unable to use the affected joint or muscle area at all, and are likely to experience severe pain and swelling; the muscle or joint might even rupture.
All soft tissue injuries can become worse over time if left undiagnosed. Even mild soft tissue injuries require care and attention, typically by avoiding pressure and contact with the affected area for a period of time. Medical professionals recommend the RICE approach to mild soft tissue injuries: rest, ice, compression, and elevation to the affected areas.
More serious soft tissue injuries may require splints or casts to maintain stability and avoid further injury. Grade 3 injuries can lead to permanent damage, including permanent functional limitation, chronic pain, inelasticity, and fragility (a high likelihood of future injury).
Grade 3 injuries are the type that can end an athlete’s career. The body’s recovery process can permanently change the composition of the affected muscle, tendon, or ligament, altering its functionality and reducing the structure’s strength and durability. Diagnosis and treatment are vital to ensure that a lower grade injury is not left alone to grow into a higher grade injury through inadvertent continued exposure to stressful contact. A serious soft tissue injury can be debilitating, preventing a person from being able to engage in sports and other recreational activities, perform daily tasks, and work certain jobs.
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed through someone else’s negligence in California, talk to a seasoned and effective Lancaster personal injury attorney about pursuing a claim for damages by calling the Kistler Law Firm at 661-206-6990.