5 Common Fall Injuries and How to Avoid Them

As the most frequent reason to visit emergency rooms nationwide, an injury from slipping and falling is a very real risk, both at home and at work. If you are over 65, your risk of getting hurt in a fall is even higher than average, according to the National Floor Safety Institute. During the fall and winter, you should be especially careful indoors and out on potentially slippery surfaces to avoid the following five common slip and fall injuries.

1. Strains and Sprains

When you feel yourself falling, your body reacts, sometimes in unusual ways, to try and protect itself. Maybe you twist around suddenly, groping for a handhold, and pull a muscle, or perhaps you reach for the nearest piece of furniture to stop yourself, only to discover it’s too far away, and you tear a ligament.

2. Broken Bones

If you fall onto a hard surface like an icy sidewalk or tumble from a ladder or a flight of stairs, you might break a bone. About five percent of people seeking emergency medical care have fractures, according to the NFSI. Seniors are particularly prone to hip fractures due to falling, which can lead to other health problems.

3. Traumatic Brain Injury

If you hit your head when you slip and fall, you could sustain a skull fracture and/or a traumatic brain injury. Depending upon its severity, such an injury could affect your ability to return to your customary routine. You may be facing months or years of therapy to relearn basic tasks. Falling is by far the leading cause of TBIs for people over 65.

4. Spinal Injury

Spinal injuries that result from falling are not as common as bone fractures, but they have the potential to result in more serious health consequences, ranging from chronic pain to paralysis. This type of injury may consist of:

  • Disc rupture
  • Spinal fracture
  • Cracks in vertebrae
  • Dislocation of vertebrae
  • Spinal misalignment
  • Spinal cord/nerve damage
  • Paralysis

5. Thoracic Injuries

Thoracic injuries include damage to the chest and the underlying organs. Cracked ribs, a fractured sternum, pulmonary contusions, myocardial contusions, damage to your airways or blood vessels, and diaphragm damage are all types of thoracic injuries that can occur when your chest bears the brunt of a fall.

How to Avoid Fall Injuries

The most effective way to avoid these types of injuries is to prevent falling in the first place. This means wearing shoes or boots that provide you with traction on wet or slippery surfaces. Additionally, consider the following strategies for avoiding accidental falls:

  • Allow yourself plenty of time to get to your destination.
  • Stay on walkways and designated paths rather than taking risky shortcuts.
  • As the days get shorter, use well-lit routes at night, and carry a flashlight.
  • Avoid damaged sidewalks.
  • Keep your hands free for better balance.
  • Wear work-appropriate footwear.

If You Do Get Injured in a Fall

If you do get injured in a fall, contact Integra Urgent Care in the Dallas-Forth Worth region. We eliminate uncomfortable waiting time at our clinic with online check-in and notification when it’s your turn to come in. We welcome walk-ins, too. Trust Integra Urgent Care for injury assessment and full-service care at our Las Colinas, Grand Prairie and Weatherford, Texas, locations.

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