In personal injury law, lawyers will often encounter very gruesome injuries caused by the thoughtlessness of others. However, not all wounds are visible. In the medical community, some of the most frequent complaints can be attributed to soft tissue damage.
More and more frequently, schools and athletic programs are being held accountable after poor decisions by the coaches or other staff led to serious soft tissue injuries. This term may sound foreign, but chances are good that you have experienced one of the most common forms of soft tissue damage during your lifetime or, at the very least, have seen it happen to others. The three most common soft tissue injuries seen at hospitals in Florida are contusions, sprains, and strains.
Sprain versus Strain
It is common for athletes, children, and parents to mistakenly use these terms interchangeably, but they each have their own place in medicine. A sprain is the more common of the two soft tissues injuries. A sprain refers to damage done to connective tissue known as ligaments. These connect muscles to tendons and generally offer joint stability, which can, therefore, be reduced after injury. Severe sprains can cause immobility of a limb and result from the joint being pushed past the normal range of motion.
Strains, on the other hand, have no bearing on ligaments. These occur when muscles and tendons are stretched or torn. In this case, it is not the joint being taxed, but the muscle itself. A strain generally occurs when a muscle is taught and then suddenly is compressed with force. This is an injury frequently seen in track and field athletes due to the force exerted while running and jumping.
Sprains and strains are measured on the same scale receiving a grade of I-III depending on severity. Grade I is the most mild of injuries, whereas a Grade III sprain or strain suggests a full-fledged tear of the soft tissue. Though commonly seen by doctors in Pinellas, sprains and strains can require extensive healing times. While very common in athletics and car accidents, in many cases they can be prevented.
The most common of the soft tissue injuries is known as contusion. This is a fancy term used to describe bruising. Bruises are far from unusual. Most children will have at least one or two present on their legs on any given day. They, of course, occur as a result of a blunt force – bumping into a school desk or running into another player on the field.
In general, contusions are a mild form of injury. They rarely prevent a player from returning to the game. However, occasionally, due to a bad Pinellas car accident or because an athlete is not properly padded when playing, contusions can be severe and result in lasting troubles. Contusions of internal organs can occur when there is a harsh and unexpected impact. That sort of deep tissue injury can mean a long, drawn out healing time.
While soft tissue injuries are common and often minor, there are times when severe cases can cause lasting damage. When the injury is the result of a poor decision made by another individual – whether it is making the choice to drink and drive or a coach choosing to hold a full-contact practice without pads – the negligent party should be held accountable. This is exactly why you should contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.