Soft Tissue Injuries-When is an Ankle Sprain Not Just an Ankle Sprain?
February 28, 2011
One of the most common personal injuries sustained in motor vehicle accident is to one’s extremities including ankles or wrists. These injuries can be extremely painful and debilitating and may take a long time to heal. Regrettably, insurance companies view these sort of injuries with skepticism.
The fact of the matter is that a muscle strain or sprain does not show up on x-rays the way a broken bone shows up and there are no machines to objectively measure one’s pain level. So, while trained and experienced doctors can notice muscle spasms and deduce pain from observations they make, there are simply no objective way to prove a patient’s painful state of being. Because of this, soft tissue injuries are generally harder to prove in court and to juries; thus, insurance companies’ hard stance on this sort of claims.
If you add the above to the fact that soft tissue injuries, often, do not prevent a patient from going to work or from their day to day activities–they are not handicapped after all just that they perform their job and/or day to day activities with pain–jurors simply have the hardest time believing the victim.
Soft tissue injuries come in many forms. Frayed ligaments torn in a sprain may heal such that they impinge or get caught in the ankle joint. This catching sensation will often cause pain or instability. Premature return to activity after a sprain may allow poor healing of ligaments and result in weakness or instability. Muscles and tendons that stabilize the ankle may be damaged and result in pain, weakness or instability. Nerves that course along the ankle or foot may get stretched severely by an injury or impacted by being landed on during a fall. Symptoms from nerve injury can be widely varied and may radiate or move. They may result in weakness, numbness or pain to the involved ankle or foot.