After your slip-and-fall injury, your arms immediately went up to check your head. You know that falls are dangerous because they can cause brain injuries, and you wanted to make sure there wouldn’t be any long-lasting effects of your accident. But you may be surprised to learn that how you fell can predict the types—and even the extent—of the injuries you may suffer.
Different Falls Cause Different Kinds of Slip-and-Fall Injuries
Different areas of a person’s body are at risk depending on the type of fall he or she has suffered. For example, the following injuries are likely to occur due to:
- Forward falls. Tripping incidents and accidents where the foot becomes caught are more likely to cause the victim to fall forward. Forward falls commonly cause hand and wrist fractures as victims attempt to break the fall with their arms, and this impact can travel into the shoulders, neck, and upper back, causing soft-tissue injuries. If the victim hits his head on the ground, he may suffer a concussion or a frontal lobe injury.
- Backward falls. Backward falls are extremely dangerous, as they are most likely to cause back and head injuries. The back may be injured at any point along the spine, but the tailbone is at particular risk, as many victims fall on their buttocks. The tailbone may be bruised or broken if it receives the full force of impact from the fall, and the force will travel through the pelvis, hips, and lower spine. Head and neck injuries such as whiplash and concussions are also common. Victims who fall backward are less likely to protect their heads when falling, increasing the risk of traumatic brain injury that may not show symptoms until days later.
- Falls from a height. A fall from a height carries higher injury risks than a fall at ground level, and serious injuries can occur in as little as three feet off the ground. Even if victims are able to land on their feet, they may suffer fractures in their legs and feet, as well as ligament damage in their knees, ankles, and hips. Falls from significant heights force the body to land flat, injuring the spine and head, and are most likely of all falls to be fatal.
It is vital that slip-and-fall victims seek a doctor’s care as soon as possible, even if they do not appear to be in pain. An x-ray or CT scan can help diagnose brain conditions that can be fatal if not treated quickly.
Is there something you wish you had known after your sudden fall? Leave a comment below to give others the benefit of your experience, or send us an email to tell us what happened to you.