The most common soft tissues injured are muscles, ligaments and tendons. Soft tissue injuries are often associated with car accidents and truck accidents resulting from a sudden trauma to the body.
Trauma could include a single blow to the body from a car accident, fall or some trauma from some other object.
The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons provides a clear and straight-forward discussion of soft tissue injuries:
Sprains – A sprain is a stretch and/or tear of a ligament, a strong band of connective tissue that connect the end of one bone with another. Ligaments stabilize and support the body’s joints.
Sprains can be categorized into three categories:
Grade 1 (mild): Slight stretching and some damage to the fibers (fibrils) of the ligament.
Grade 2 (moderate): Partial tearing of the ligament. There is abnormal looseness (laxity) in the joint when it is moved in certain ways.
Grade 3 (severe): Complete tear of the ligament causing significant instability and joint nonfunction.
Treatment of sprains various from the RICE protocol (rest, ice, compression and elevation) and physical therapy, to bracing and even surgery for severe strains to repair torn ligaments.
Strains – A strain is an injury to a muscle and/or tendons. Tendons are fibrous cords of tissue that attach muscles to the bone. Strains often occur in your foot, leg (typically the hamstring) or back. The recommended treatment program for a sprain includes the RICE protocol, physical therapy or surgery for serious tears.
Contusion (Bruises) – A contusion is a bruise caused by a direct blow or repeated blows, crushing underlying muscle fibers and connective tissue without breaking the skin. A contusion can result from falling or jamming the body against a hard surface. The discoloration of the skin is caused by blood pooling around the injury.
Most contusions are mild and respond well with the RICE protocol. If symptoms persist, medical care should be sought to prevent permanent damage to the soft tissues.
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