Cuts, Bruises, Strains, and Sprains: Minor Injuries or Overlooked Issues?

From a slight slip while cutting vegetables to a wrong step while on a morning jog, there are many everyday situations that lead to minor injuries. But while they might make a bloody mess or lead to temporary soreness, injuries like cuts, scrapes, bruises, sprains, and strains happen to people all the time . . . so they can’t be that serious, right?

When someone walks away from an accident with only a cut or sprain, they might consider themselves very lucky. After all, when compared to injuries like spinal cord damage or head trauma, a few scrapes  might not seem that bad. However, even minor injuries can have lasting consequences.

After an accident, many people suffer from cuts, scrapes, or abrasions. Injuries like these are particularly common after vehicle accidents, as victims might be hit with broken glass or debris.

Types of Skin Injuries

  • A cut is an open wound inflicted by something sharp, like a knife. Cuts are also sometimes called lacerations, a term which sounds more severe but refers to the same injury
  • A scrape is similar to a cut, but the wound does not go all the way through the skin. Scrapes are generally very minor.
  • An abrasion occurs when the skin is scraped hard enough to rub away. It is sometimes called “rug burn” or “road rash” and is commonly seen in motorcycle accidents
  • A bruise is not an open wound, but rather an injury that results from broken blood vessels underneath the skin

Skin injuries are usually not a serious issue if they are quickly and properly treated. Minor scrapes and bruises can be treated with ice, while deeper injuries might require stitches. Stitches, also called sutures, are threads that hold together body tissues. They are usually needed for open or gaping wounds that are longer than ½ inches. While they are more serious treatment than a Band-Aid or ice, stitches are a common medical procedure. They can sometimes even be done at an after-hours medical clinic instead of an emergency room.

Skin Injury Complications

Whether they are treated with stitches or ice, most cuts heal quickly.  However, serious or untreated cuts can lead to complications like:

  • Infections, including MRSA, tetanus, or even necrotizing fasciitis, the “flesh eating” bacteria
  • Skin loss
  • Permanent scarring
  • Blood loss

Due to these potential complications, it is important to seek treatment for a cut, especially if the wound is dirty, looks infected, or has material, like bits of glass, stuck inside it.

After an accident, sprains and strains are also common injuries. They often occur during traffic accidents, but are also commonly seen in the workplace. For example, someone might strain their back while lifting a heavy box or sprain their ankle after tripping over something in their office.

The Difference Between Sprains and Sprains

Sprains and strains are similar injuries in terms of symptoms, but affect different parts of the body. A sprain is the stretching or tearing of ligaments, the bands of tissues that connect bones to each other. A strain, on the other hand, concerns tendons, which connect muscles to bones. Both have similar symptoms, like:

  • Pain in the affected area
  • Swelling
  • Tenderness
  • Inability to put weight or pressure on the affected area

When someone experiences a sprain or strain, they can often heal by resting the affected area. But tendons and ligaments are like paper. Once they have been torn up, it can be difficult to put them back together. This is why sprains and strains, even though they seem minor, can have lasting consequences. They might lead to permanent damage within the tendons or ligaments, which can prevent victims from working or enjoying their hobbies.

Sprains and strains should be immediately examined and if they occurred at work, reported to a supervisor. Though they might not seem serious, they could manifest into a more painful condition, which is why they should be addressed right away.

Skin injuries, strains, and sprains might not seem like a big deal. But after a car crash or other accident, no injury should be overlooked!


The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.

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