Soft tissue injury compensation following an accident
A soft tissue injury can occur as the result of damage to structures such as muscles and ligaments, rather than bones. The body’s ability to sense movement within joints and joint position is called the proprioception system . This system enables us to know where our limbs are in space automatically, without having to look or think and is made up of receptor nerves that are positioned in the muscles, joints and ligaments around joints.
The receptors sense tension and stretch and pass this information back up to the brain where it is processed. The brain then responds by signalling to muscles to contract or relax in order to produce the desired movement. This system is subconscious, and we don't have to think about the movements or the corrections to movement. Being able to coordinate everyday movements indicates the normal functioning of the proprioceptive system.
How do soft tissue injuries occur?
Soft tissue injuries occur by a sudden movement (or great force) that is too rapid for the proprioceptive system to control. Injuries can be classified into four main categories: strains, sprains, cramps and overuse injuries.
Sprains occur when ligaments are stretched beyond their normal range of movement. Sprains most commonly occur in the leg, knee and ankle.
A strain or ‘pull’, occurs when muscle or tendon fibres are torn. These soft tissue injuries are the most common type of sports injury as they involve muscles. Injuries can range in severity from minor strain to major rupture.
Cramp injuries are involuntary muscle contractions that suddenly occur and can be temporarily debilitating. Triggers may include dehydration, low potassium or low sodium levels, inadequate carbohydrate intake or an excessively tight muscle.
Athletes doing too much intense training can suffer from overuse injury. Common areas of injury are shin splints, including stress fractures, Periostitis and Compartment Syndrome, also Tendonitis
Treating soft tissue injuries
The sooner you are able to treat a soft tissue injury the quicker your recovery will be. Here are some general principles applicable to the management of soft tissue injuries that may be of help.
Inflammation will develop at the site of the soft tissue injury during the first 48 hours following the accident. Try to minimise this as much as possible as follows:
- Rest. Try not to move or stress the affected part any more than absolutely necessary or the initial damage may be worsened
- Cold. To help reduce the inflammation, wrap a bag of frozen peas in a damp cloth, and hold on soft tissue injury, for approximately 5-10 minutes every hour or two. Re-freeze the peas between sessions and throw the bag away afterwards (you should not eat food that has been defrosted and refrozen)
- Compression. A crepe bandage, applied firmly (but not too tight) to around the soft tissue injury can help to control swelling
- Elevation. Elevating a soft tissue injury reduces the blood flow (eg: raising a sprained ankle on a cushion or putting a sprained wrist in a sling) which reduces the degree of swelling.
- Anti-inflammatories. Drugs such as aspirin or ibuprofen, which offer pain relief, can also reduce inflammation. They may not be suitable for everyone, so you should consult your GP before taking any medication.
After the first 48 hours rest, you should usually start to gently mobilise the injury, to prevent stiffening and loss of function. Don’t be put off by mild pain, but neither overdo it. Listen to what your body is telling you.
Your GP may refer you to see a physiotherapist because of the severity of the soft tissue injury, or if your recovery is unusually slow.
Complications with soft tissue injuries
Soft tissue injuries can sometimes conceal a bone fracture, particularly around the wrist, fingers or toes. It is therefore important that you see your GP if you are in away way concerned about your injury or the rate of your recovery.
How we can help you following a soft tissue injury
If you have suffered your soft tissue injury in an accident that was someone else’s fault, we can help you make a claim for compensation. If you have been suffering the effects of the injury for a period of 4 weeks or more, you are legally entitled to claim compensation.
If your soft tissue injury has prevented you from working we can also help you make a claim for loss of earnings, in addition to claiming for prescription charges, taxi fares and any other out-of-pocket expenses you have incurred as a result of the accident. See Claiming personal injury compensation for more information...
How much will I have to pay?
Our service will not cost you a penny, nor will we take a percentage of your compensation. If your soft tissue injury claim is successful, we can claim our costs and fees in addition to your compensation. If your claim is unsuccessful you will be fully protected from costs. See no-risk, no win no fee for more information...
Free legal advice, 24 hours a day
If you would like to make a soft tissue injury claim, or you just want to talk to a solicitor about the possibility of making a claim, without any obligation, please call us on 0800 78 38 846 we’re here 24 hours a day.