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Recovering from car accident, soft tissue damage

On Behalf of | Mar 13, 2024 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

The human body is a complex network of parts and systems. If you suffer an illness or injury, you may need to visit a Virginia medical doctor who specializes in that part of the body. For example, if you’re involved in a car accident, you might suffer soft tissue damage.

An orthopedic doctor diagnoses and treats hard and soft tissue injuries. Hard tissue basically refers to bones, which are often fractured as a result of a motor vehicle collision. However, such collisions can also do extensive damage to soft tissue areas of the body. Such areas include your muscles, tendons, ligaments, skin, fat, blood vessels and connective tissues.

Symptoms of soft tissue injuries following a car accident

If you end up in an emergency room following a car accident, the attending physician might order an x-ray. While an x-ray cannot show a soft tissue injury, a doctor might order one to rule out a fracture, especially if you’re presenting symptoms that coincide with both types of injury, such as pain, swelling or inflammation.

When an x-ray has ruled out a broken bone, an ER physician may perform further examination to determine if you have a soft tissue injury. This might include touching a specific limb or other area of the body. If you experience tenderness or pain during the examination, it is a sign of soft tissue injury, such as a sprain or strain. You might also have swelling, bruising or immobility near the site of the injury.

Most common injuries involving soft tissues

In a car accident, your body might hit against multiple hard surfaces inside the vehicle or outside, if the impact ejected you from your seat. You might also be violently shaken or thrust in opposite directions, especially if an object hit you from behind, which can result in severe soft tissue injuries, such as whiplash. The following list shows several common tissue injuries that often occur in a car accident:

  • Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear in the knee
  • Medial collateral ligament (MCL) tear in the knee
  • Shoulder impingement

Soft tissue injuries can cause excruciating pain. You may need to take strong medications during recovery to alleviate the discomfort. If you tear your ACL, you might need to undergo surgery. This is also possible for an MCL tear, although most physicians will recommend non-invasive courses of treatment first, to see if they work.

Challenges during recovery

Recovering from a soft tissue injury following a Virginia car accident may take weeks, months or longer. In fact, such injuries may cause permanent disability or chronic pain conditions, which may not only impede your quality of life but also possibly prevent you from being able to work as you once did prior to the accident. Medical care associated with soft tissue injuries is expensive; however, state law allows recovering victims to seek financial recovery for their losses in civil court.