While cuts and bruises might be evident signs of an accident, soft tissue damage can be more insidious, lurking beneath the surface. Soft tissues, such as muscles, tendons and ligaments, are prone to injury in various accidents, including car crashes, slips and falls.
Recognizing the subtle signs of soft tissue damage helps you ensure timely diagnosis and proper treatment.
One of the earliest signs of soft tissue damage is persistent pain that does not subside with rest or over-the-counter pain relievers. If you experience nagging discomfort or pain that seems to worsen with time, it could indicate a deeper problem. You may notice pain only in the affected area or in other parts of the body.
Reduced range of motion
Soft tissue injuries can lead to stiffness and a noticeable reduction in your range of motion. If you find it challenging to move a joint or body part as freely as before the accident, it could be a sign of damage to the muscles, tendons or ligaments.
Swelling and inflammation
Soft tissue damage often results in localized swelling and redness. While these symptoms might not be immediately apparent, they can develop over time.
Weakness and instability
Soft tissue injuries can weaken the affected area, leading to feelings of instability. For instance, if you can not bear weight on a leg or your grip strength has diminished, it may indicate underlying soft tissue damage.
Numbness or tingling
Damage to soft tissues, especially around nerves, can result in numbness or tingling sensations. If you experience these symptoms, a medical evaluation can help you rule out more severe injuries.
Nearly 1.6 million car accidents in the United States led to injuries in 2020. Be vigilant about any changes in your physical condition after an accident, no matter how long it has been since the accident occurred. Prompt diagnosis and appropriate medical attention can make a significant difference in your recovery.