Why Soft Tissue Injuries Are Hard to Recover From
In most accidents, our bodies suffer the brunt of the damage in our soft tissue, namely the muscles, ligaments, or tendons. These parts of the body are important for balance, flexibility, and movement, and any untreated injuries can impact every aspect of our lives, from our jobs to how we sleep to our weight. Unlike bruises or broken bones, soft tissue injuries can take longer to heal than you might think.
Identifying Soft Tissue Injuries
If you sustain a soft tissue injury, you are likely to experience immediate pain, along with delayed or immediate swelling, stiffness of the area, and bruising that develops after 24 to 48 hours. You may also have difficulty maintaining your balance, particularly when weight-bearing joints, such as the hips, knees, and ankles, are affected. Whiplash is a common soft tissue injury that occurs in car accidents, and affects the ligaments, tendons, and muscles of the neck.
Other common soft tissue injuries are strains or sprains, which can range from mild pain to complete immobility of the affected area. A strain is a trauma to the muscles or tendons caused by overstretching. In contrast, a sprain involves overstretching of the ligaments. Both sprains and strains are classified based on the severity of the injury:
- Grade 1: These are mild injuries that occur due to overstretching, such as by lifting a heavy weight or falling while playing a sport. The fibers may suffer damage on a microscopic level but will feature only mild tenderness and swelling.
- Grade 2: The fibers that encompass the soft tissue will become partially torn in these moderate sprain or strains. Victims can expect moderate pain, swelling, and tenderness, and will have difficulty putting weight on the injured area without experiencing pain.
- Grade 3: A severe, grade 3 strain or sprain occurs when the tissue surrounding the joint, ligament, tendon, or muscle completely tears. This is accompanied by significant pain and swelling, loss of balance or flexibility, and the inability to move the injured body part. A torn Achilles tendon is a well-known grade 3 strain.
Average Recovery Periods
For mild sprains or strains, treatment may be as simple as the RICE method, which involves rest, ice, compression, and elevation. In grade 1 injuries, the RICE method should be applied for one to two weeks and three to four weeks for grade 2 injuries. This means time off work, especially if you work construction or retail. Sadly, most workers do not take time off to recover, which can cause the injuries to worsen and result in further discomfort and pain. If your injury occurred when you were on the job, make sure to take advantage of your workers’ compensation benefits to ensure you make a full recovery.
For the most extreme cases, such as with grade 3 injuries, the recovery times are often much longer and can vary depending on a number of factors, including: lifestyle, health, other injuries, age, and activity level. Grade 3 soft tissue injuries should be assessed and treated immediately.
Why It Is Important to Seek Compensation for Soft Tissue Injuries
Soft tissue injuries can have a significant impact on your life. They can cause pain and discomfort and prevent you from working out or participating in physical activities. Many people with soft tissue injuries experience pain with routine, daily activities such as driving a car or lifting a bag of groceries. Parents will have significant difficulty playing with their kids and tending to their homes, as severe sprains and strains can take some time to heal. You may need ongoing medical treatment, physical therapy, and time away from work. It is important to seek compensation for the losses you have suffered so you can get the treatment and rest you need.
At Sorey, Gilliland & Hull, LLP, our Longview personal injury attorneys provide personalized, client-centered legal services. When we review your case, we will analyze both your medical history and financial costs to ensure no detail is left out of your claim. If you have suffered soft tissue injuries at the hands of someone else’s carelessness, such as in a car accident, slip-and-fall, or other traumatic events, call us at (903) 207-5526 to arrange for a free consultation.