Can Soft Tissue Damage Be Permanent?

Nov 17

Many people who are involved in vehicle accidents will suffer from soft tissue injuries. These injuries often include sprains or contusions. While some people only experience bruising, others, in more severe collisions, may suffer from a ligament or tendon tear – or worse.

As a result, some soft tissue damage can end up being permanent. That’s because some of the injuries have the potential to cause irreversible harm.

If you were involved in a car crash not too long ago and sustained some injuries, there is a good chance that you sustained some type of soft tissue damage. Always discuss your injuries with a car accident lawyer as soon as possible.


Soft Tissue Injuries from Car Crashes

In basic terms, soft tissues represent the parts of the body that do not include internal organs or bones. This category may include your skin, ligaments, tendons, or muscles.

When the body is subjected to force or trauma in an auto accident, the soft tissues are frequently injured. By contrast, overuse injuries to the soft tissues result from doing the same activity over and over again.

Therefore, overuse or acute trauma can trigger a soft tissue injury. Some of the symptoms may include bruising, swelling, and pain, including damage to the afflicted tissue or joint. Again, this type of damage may be permanent or transient in nature.

While soft tissue injuries can be prevented, not every state follows all the interventions for keeping the roads safe to reduce injuries. According to the CDC, the use of seat belts and booster seats can make a big difference in the reduction of injuries.

While we may ideally want this to happen, we still have to face the fact that road accidents are an ongoing problem, often causing soft tissue injuries.


A Common Soft Tissue “After-Accident” Injury

A common acute trauma injury that frequently takes place after an auto wreck is whiplash. Whiplash occurs when the neck is forcefully and suddenly jolted forward and backward. This type of injury can lead to chronic neck or back pain, neck stiffness, ongoing headaches, or fatigue. Therefore, it may take years to heal or the damage may be permanent.


Types of Soft Tissue Damage

Generally, soft tissue injuries fall under the following classifications.

Contusions (Or Bruising)

Contusions, which are called bruises, develop after the body is subjected to some type of blunt force.

This force causes capillaries, which are very small blood vessels, to burst just below the skin’s surface. When this happens, the skin turns black and/or blue.

When properly treated with an ice pack, most bruising will heal on its own within a few days. However, even if you just have bruises after an accident, you should still have the injury checked out medically. That’s because you may have more damage than what the human eye can perceive.


You run the danger of sustaining one or more sprains if your body is jerked or twisted during an auto mishap.

When a ligament is stretched beyond its usual range of motion, this may cause a partial tear in the tissue – an injury that is referred to as a sprain. 

Your bones are held together by fibrous bands of tissue called ligaments, which also serve to provide stability. Therefore, the ankles, knees, hamstrings, and wrists are common locations where people get these types of injuries.

When a sprain occurs, the victims often feel the effects in their necks and backs. In the event that a ligament is entirely severed, surgical restoration of the affected region is often required.


A strain is comparable to a sprain in that both conditions result in similar symptoms, including pain, edema, impaired functioning, and lack of muscle strength. While a sprain refers to a partly torn ligament, a strain affects the muscles or tendons. 


Bursae are fluid-filled sacs that are found between bones and muscles, bones and tendons, or bones and ligaments. The sacs provide a cushion for comfort and support. 

Overuse is the most common cause of bursitis, which is an inflammation of one or more bursa. Direct trauma to a joint after a car accident may also lead to the injury.


Tendinitis, which literally means “inflammation of a tendon,” is one of the most typical types of soft tissue injuries. Tendonitis manifests itself in several forms – the most prevalent of which is “tennis elbow” and “golfer’s elbow” injuries.

While not as prevalent in car accidents, this type of injury may occur.


Severe Soft Tissue Recovery: Phases of Healing

Even though different specialists may use varying terms, the majority of medical authorities believe that the healing process for soft tissues covers three phases.

The Inflammation Phase or the “Acute” Phase

The inflammation phase, also known as the “acute” phase, typically lasts up to a week. During this period, most patients report that they experience the most severe and debilitating pain.


The Proliferation or “Subacute” Phase

The proliferation phase, also known as the “subacute” phase, typically lasts between two and three weeks and is characterized by the need for rest and (frequently) immobilization. This is done so the body can begin the gradual process toward restoration.


The Remodeling or “Final” Phase

The final phase is called the remodeling phase. This stage of healing can last anywhere from a few months to several years. During this phase, the body works to strengthen the damaged tissue so that it can regain full functionality.

Many people who sustain severe injuries to their soft tissues are unaware that it takes their bodies a significant amount of time to go through the healing process.

They frequently and erroneously believe that the major part of their recovery takes place during the inflammation phase, which only lasts about a week. 

As a result, they may injure the tissue further by neglecting to give it enough time to rest and recover.

If you need a longer recovery time, you may be concerned about lost income or additional medical costs  – compensation that is needed for full recuperation. Moreover, if you don’t allow for a longer recovery, your injury may end up being irreversible.


Signs that Your Injury May Be Severe

Certain acute injuries might result in serious soft tissue damage. Signs that your injury may be severe include the following symptoms:

  • A “crack” or “popping” sound where the damage took place
  • Sensations of numbness or tingling close to injury site
  • Problems with moving your back or neck
  • Problems with placing weight on an afflicted limb
  • Severe pain at the injury site
  • An injury that is misshapen
  • Problems with scarring
  • An inability to use the surrounding muscles

Should you experience irreversible damage, you may not be able to regain the same mobility you had before your accident. In addition, you may need to undergo continual therapy. Indeed, these types of outcomes can affect your lifestyle as well as your ability to pay for treatments over time.

Putting in a Claim for Your Damages and Compensation

If you were injured due to the carelessness of another person, you shouldn’t be expected to bear the financial costs of treatment and rehabilitation. That is why you should contact a personal injury attorney. Speak to them about your case so you can get the compensation you deserve and need.


Schedule a Free Consultation with A Personal Injury Attorney Now

To schedule a free consultation, contact the law firm of Blackburn Romey right away. Call the firm at (833) FOR HELP to learn more about the rights surrounding your claim.

Tom Blackburn

Blackburn Romey founding partner Tom Blackburn graduated with honors receiving a degree from Indiana University at the Robert H. McKinney School of Law. Initiating his legal career in 1977, he has been active in practicing law and currently serves as a member of the Indiana State Bar Association on the Ethics and Advertising Committees, the American Bar Association, the American Association for Justice, as a board member at the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association, and as an appointed member of the Executive Committee for the State of Indiana for the National Trial Lawyers Association.

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