Soft Tissue Injuries from a Bicycle Accident

Soft Tissue Injuries from a Bicycle Accident

Bicyclists are prone to soft tissue injuries in an accident from a falling or twisting motion or from an impact. These usually involve sprains or strains and contusions.


A sprain is a stretching or tearing of a ligament. Ligaments are the connective tissue between bones that stabilize joints. Ankles, knees, and wrists are susceptible to sprains when your foot is caught in your pedal while you are desperately trying to extricate it and avoid falling over. You can injure your wrists when you use your hands when falling to the asphalt.

While most sprains are mild, or moderate or they may also be classified as severe. Mild refers to some stretching of the ligament; moderate refers to a partial tear, and a severe one refers to a complete tear. Pain and swelling are indications of a sprain that may be treated by rest, ice, compression and elevation (RICE). Apply ice for 20 minutes, three or four times a day for the first few days but use a cloth or other substance so as not to apply it directly to your skin. Compression is with an elastic bandage that will decrease swelling. When elevating, be sure your limb is above your heart. If you sustained a severe sprain, you might need surgery.


This refers to trauma to the muscles and tendons, usually in your foot or leg though you can certainly strain your back muscles. A severe strain is a complete tear of a muscle or tendon. Symptoms are swelling, spasms, muscle weakness, pain, and cramping. Use the RICE regimen to treat most strains followed by certain exercises to regain mobility. Many people use chiropractic care to treat these conditions. If severe, though, surgical intervention may be required.


Contusions are bruises caused by broken blood vessels. It is called ecchymosis if it is a flat, purple bruise produced when blood leaks to the top layers of the skin.

Soft tissue injuries are a common injury if you are forced off your bicycle. A sprained ankle may be obvious to anyone since you are unable to walk without difficulty and visible swelling occurs. They are not so obvious if you strain your neck or back since an x-ray or another diagnostic test will not reveal it. An MRI would show a torn ligament in a knee, but these are expensive tests and are not used unless a medical provider confirms your symptoms and orders it.

Otherwise, your treating physician or chiropractor will have to show the results of examinations, neurological and orthopedic tests, range of motion results and other findings to confirm a soft tissue injury and refute claims of malingering or exaggeration by victims. The force of the trauma, damage to the bicycle and loss of income from an inability to work are strong indicators that you did suffer such an injury.

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