Soft Tissue Injury

Soft tissue injuries sound minor or made up. However, they can produce severe pain and limit your mobility. Worse yet, some soft tissue injuries never heal, leaving you with permanent disabilities that prevent you from working or performing essential tasks like driving or shopping.

These injuries may require reconstructive surgery and physical therapy. You may miss weeks or even months of work while you recover. And the long-term effects of these injuries could limit your home and work activities.

What Are the Soft Tissues of Your Body?

What Are the Soft Tissues of Your Body?

Your body has two main types of tissues. Your bones contain minerals like calcium and phosphorus. The mineral matrix makes bones rigid and strong yet light. These “hard” tissues give your body structure.

Everything else in your body is soft. Without the high mineral content, these tissues are flexible. These tissues include nerves, blood vessels, organs, and connective tissues. Any of them can stretch or rupture during a traumatic injury.

When doctors refer to soft tissue injuries, they often mean injuries to the soft tissues of the musculoskeletal system, including:

Muscles and Tendons

Muscles attach to the skeleton through tendons. As the muscles contract or relax, they pull on the bones to move your body. The muscles give your body both strength and movement.


Ligaments hold your bones together at the joints. These tough bands of tissue prevent the bones from separating and guide the movement of the bones relative to each other. For example, your knee ligaments prevent your legs from bending the wrong way.


Cartilage is made from collagen. It provides a smooth and tough lining for the joint surfaces. The layer of cartilage also cushions the bones as you stress your joints.

How Do Soft Tissue Injuries Happen?

Soft tissue injuries happen when the force of a traumatic incident damages the cells. This damage can occur in a few ways, including:

Blunt Force Injury

A blunt force injury happens from an impact on your body that does not create an open wound. Blunt-force injuries can occur when something strikes your body, like a falling object in a workplace accident. They can also happen when your body strikes something. Thus, you can experience a blunt-force injury when you hit the ground during a slip and fall accident.

Penetrating Injury

Penetrating injuries happen when something sharp cuts into the soft tissues. Many materials can cause these injuries. An object can get propelled into your body, such as a nail from a nail gun. You can also fall onto a sharp object that penetrates the soft tissues. For example, falling onto a piece of rebar in a construction accident could result in impalement.

Hyperextension Injury

When your soft tissues hyperextend, the structure stretches, and microscopic tears can form. These tears can propagate and combine into large tears. In a worst-case scenario, the tears can extend through the entire thickness of the tissue.

Hyperextension injuries can happen in traffic accidents. For example, the forces your neck experiences as your head whips back and forth in a car accident can cause a hyperextension injury called whiplash.

What Are Some Examples of Soft Tissue Injuries?

Soft tissue injuries can take many forms. Some examples of soft tissue injuries that result from traumatic events include:


Bruises, also called contusions, typically form after suffering a blunt force injury. The impact damages the cells and tiny blood vessels that feed them. 

Symptoms of bruises include:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Discoloration under the skin

Mild bruises may clear up in a few days. Severe bruises may take weeks or more to heal. Bruises rarely require treatment but can signify more serious problems like sprains.


Lacerations result from penetrating injuries. The foreign object can slice into the soft tissue. As the object cuts the fibers of the soft tissue, it weakens.

The object can also sever nerves and blood vessels. 

As a result, you face many potential complications from deep lacerations, including:

Blood loss can kill you. Even if you do not bleed to death, you can still die from shock. This condition happens when your blood pressure drops. In extreme cases, the blood pressure drops so low that the organs cannot get enough oxygen to survive.

Nerve damage from a deep laceration can produce many symptoms, including:

  • Paralysis
  • Weakness
  • Loss of dexterity
  • Numbness
  • Tingling

Infections develop when pathogens enter your body. A laceration breaches the skin, your body’s main defense against pathogens. Once inside the soft tissues, the pathogens multiply and compete with your body cells for resources by killing them. Doctors can treat infections with antibiotics. Untreated infections can make you very ill or even kill you.

Muscle and Tendon Strains

Strains happen when you hyperextend muscles and tendons. 

The damage produced by hyperextension can cause symptoms such as:

  • Pain
  • Weakness
  • Muscle spasms
  • Swelling
  • Stiffness

Mild strains heal in four to six weeks. You will typically not require medical treatment. Instead, your doctor will prescribe home care, including rest, ice, and anti-inflammatory drugs. Severe strains, such as full-thickness tears, may require months of healing and rehabilitation.

Ligament Sprains

Sprains happen when the ligaments hyperextend. 

The stretched and torn ligament may produce symptoms such as:

  • Joint pain and instability
  • Inflammation
  • Limited range of joint movement
  • Bruises

Sprains with mild tearing will heal in four to six weeks. Full-thickness tears may require reconstructive surgery and immobilization of the joint while the ligament heals. Even after healing, you may experience pain, inflammation, and weakness in the joint.

Torn Cartilage

Hyperextension, particularly twisting forces or compression, can tear the cartilage lining your joints. 

When you tear joint cartilage, you may experience symptoms such as:

  • Joint pain
  • Inflammation
  • Limited range of motion
  • Clicking or hitching in the joint as you move it

In some cases, doctors will operate to remove loose cartilage floating in the joint. Cartilage grows back very slowly. To avoid reinjuring the joint, you may need to reduce your activities for several months or longer. Over the long term, you have an increased risk of developing arthritis in the joint since you do not have cartilage to prevent the bones from grinding on each other.

How Can You Get Compensation For a Soft Tissue Injury?

Victims of trauma can seek financial compensation when their injuries result from someone else’s wrongful conduct. In this context, “wrongful” includes negligent or intentional actions. It can also include the strict liability that arises when manufacturers release defective products into the stream of commerce.

When you prove liability, you can seek compensation for your economic and non-economic losses. Economic damages include your financial costs, such as your medical expenses, and any income you could not earn due to missed work. Non-economic damages include the human costs, such as the pain, mental anguish, and disability you experienced.

A soft tissue injury can leave you with permanent disabilities. Contact our attorneys at Roderick C. Lopez Personal Injury Lawyers or call our office at (956) 303-9238 for a free consultation to discuss your soft tissue injuries and the financial compensation you can seek for their effects.