Soft tissue injuries can produce severe pain and long-term disabilities. These injuries can also prevent you from working and may even force you to retire from your job.
Insurers often look at soft tissue injuries with skepticism. They feel that these injuries are too easy to fake or exaggerate. As a result, you will need solid evidence to prove your injury and obtain the compensation you deserve for its effects.
If you were injured in an accident, it’s essential to learn more about soft tissue injuries and how you can recover compensation for them.
What Is Your Musculoskeletal System?
The musculoskeletal system contains your bones.
Your bones serve to:
- Provide a rigid framework for your body
- Protect your organs
- Provide leverage so that the soft tissues can move your body.
But your musculoskeletal system also includes four types of soft tissues, including your muscles, tendons, ligaments, and cartilage.
These soft tissues hold your skeleton together and help move your body.
The term “soft tissue injuries” often refers to injuries involving the soft tissues of your musculoskeletal system, but there are many types of soft tissues within your body, such as your:
- Blood vessels
- Other fibrous tissues
When orthopedists refer to soft tissue injuries, they typically mean injuries to:
Ligaments are tough and elastic bands of tissue that connect your bones at the joints. For example, you have four ligaments in your knee that hold your leg bones together.
Ligaments guide the movement of your joints. Your knee ligaments prevent your knee from bending backward. Ligaments also help your joints rebound after bending.
Muscles and Tendons
Muscles move your body by flexing and extending. The power of the muscles gives your body its strength, allowing it to run, lift, and jump.
Muscles attach to bones through tendons. The tendons are fibrous bands of tissue that grow into the bones.
Cartilage is made from collagen. This flexible material serves two primary purposes. First, certain structures, like your nose and ears, need flexibility more than strength. Your body forms these parts from cartilage rather than bone.
Second, cartilage lines your joints. This material is smooth and tough. It prevents the bones from grinding on each other and wearing down. It also lubricates the joint so it can move smoothly.
What Can Cause a Soft Tissue Injury?
Several types of trauma can damage the soft tissues, such as:
You can suffer a soft tissue injury when an accident stretches your soft tissues too far. Stretching can weaken or tear the soft tissues.
This type of trauma can happen in almost any type of accident. For example, you can stretch or tear your wrist ligaments when you try to catch yourself during a fall on someone else’s property. Similarly, you can hyperextend the muscles and tendons in your neck as your head whips back and forth in a car accident.
You might injure your soft tissues when an object hits you or you hit an object. For instance, you may suffer from blunt trauma as a pedestrian when a vehicle hits you. You can also experience blunt trauma when you fall to the ground from a ladder in an on-the-job accident.
Penetrating trauma can lacerate your soft tissues. Penetrating trauma can happen in a motorcycle crash when you slide across broken glass that tears into your soft tissues. You can also suffer a penetrating injury when you get your hand caught in a bladed tool at work.
What Types of Soft Tissue Injuries Can a Person Sustain?
Soft tissue injuries cover many medical conditions, including:
You suffer a strain when hyperextension trauma stretches a tendon or muscle.
This injury can produce symptoms such as:
- Muscle pain and swelling
- Muscle spasms
These symptoms can typically last four to six weeks. But if you suffer a severe strain, you may need surgery to repair the torn tendon or muscle.
Hyperextension trauma can also stretch or tear ligaments.
These injuries, called sprains, can produce the following symptoms:
- Joint pain and inflammation
- Limited range of joint motion
- Bruises near the joint
A sprained ligament could take several weeks or up to a year to heal. For example, a full-thickness tear of a knee ligament might require surgery and months of physical therapy.
When you tear the cartilage in a joint, the bones can trap loose pieces of cartilage. And without the joint lining, your bones could grind against each other.
As a result, you may experience symptoms like:
- Joint pain and inflammation
- Clicking or popping sounds in the joint
- Hitching, sticking, or grinding of your joint
Torn cartilage takes a long time to heal. As a result, you may experience symptoms for months or years after your injury. Your doctor may perform surgery to remove cartilage floating in your joint.
And since the joint may wear out faster than normal, you may eventually suffer from permanent disabilities or require an artificial joint.
Discs sit between the vertebrae of your spine. Back trauma can cause these soft tissues to deform.
A herniated disc happens when the disc ruptures and its interior material protrudes. On the other hand, a bulging disc occurs when the disc weakens and it bulges around its middle.
In both cases, the deformed disc flattens and causes stress on your spine by pulling everything out of position. It can also compress nerve roots, potentially causing nerve damage.
How Can You Get Compensation for a Soft Tissue Injury?
Fortunately, you can get compensation for soft tissue injuries that resulted from someone else’s intentional or negligent actions. This compensation can cover both your economic and non-economic losses. These losses can include your medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
You can often seek substantial compensation for soft tissue injuries. Even a mild soft tissue injury can disable you from performing physical activities, like walking or lifting your arms above your head. These injuries may require surgery and physical therapy. And severe injuries can cause permanent loss of function and conditions like arthritis.The seasoned personal injury lawyers at Attorneys of Chicago Personal Injury Lawyers understand the complicated nature of soft tissue cases. We have the skills and experience necessary to aggressively seek the compensation you deserve while you focus on recovering. Contact our Chicago law office at (312) 929 2884 for a free consultation today.