What Are the Most Common Injuries after Slips, Trips, and Falls?
Slips, trips, and falls can result in a number of different injuries. Among the most common are torn ligaments, tendons, and muscles; fractured or broken bones; spinal cord injuries; and traumatic brain injuries.
Slips, trips, and falls can happen anywhere, at any time, to anyone. The number of situations that can lead to a slip and fall accident are many and varied. From just tripping over an uneven sidewalk or slipping on a wet surface, to falling from a ladder or scaffold, these accidents happen unexpectedly and quickly and can lead to lifetime disabilities.
Obviously, not all slip and falls lead to such serious injuries, so let’s take a look at some of the most common injuries that happen after slips, trips, and falls.
Torn Ligaments, Tendons, and Muscles
Ligaments are fibrous, connective tissues that stretch from the ends (or joints) of one bone to the joints of another in our bodies. Ligaments are very strong tissues which basically give the body stability and the ability to move. For instance, ligaments connect the bones in your upper arm to those in your forearm, enabling you to move your arms and hands.
A sprain happens when ligaments are stretched or even torn from overstretching. The symptoms that you may experience with a sprain are:
- A “pop” sound that is heard or felt at the time of injury,
- Limited movement of the affected joint,
- Swelling, and
Your ankles, knees, and wrists are most vulnerable to sprains. It is easy to imagine the types of circumstances that can lead to sprains because, essentially, any traumatic twisting or wrenching of your joints can do it. Twisting your ankle when you step off a curb wrong, twisting your knee as you pivot quickly, or suddenly placing all of your weight on your hands during a fall and wrenching your wrists can all cause strains to your ligaments in these body parts.
There are essentially three levels of sprains:
Mild sprain – This is mild stretching and damage to the fibers of a ligament.
Moderate sprain – This is when the ligament is stretched so far that it is partially torn. When you move the joint may feel like there is more slack than normal.
Severe sprain – This is a complete tearing of the ligament. A complete tear makes the joint nonfunctional until it heals.
Strains are injuries to your muscles and tendons. We all know what muscles are, and tendons are strong fibrous cords that attach your muscles to your bones. Similar to sprains, strains are an overstretching of your tendons and/or muscles. They can be mild to severe injuries, depending on the amount of tearing involved.
Fractures or Broken Bones
These are pretty self-explanatory as many of us have suffered fractures and broken bones in our lifetime. They happen when a person falls or there is some sort of acute blow to our skeletal system. Your arms, legs, hips, and pelvis are particularly susceptible to fractures and breaks and can require surgery and long recovery periods. During recovery, the affected limb or area must be immobilized until it rebuilds. And even after recovery, the limb may not function quite the same as it did prior to impact.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries can happen in a number of ways, but one common way is by falling and landing on your back. Depending on the height and angle from which you fell, the impact and resulting damage can be light to severe. These injuries can also happen from intense overextension of the back, possibly while trying to break or avoid a trip and/or fall.
Injury to your spinal cord is a serious business, as loss of movement all over your body can be affected. You can experience significant and permanent changes in strength, mobility, and sensation below the place of the injury. There are essentially two classifications of spinal cord injuries: complete and incomplete.
A complete spinal cord injury is one in which the patient experiences a total loss of sensation and movement below the point of injury. This would be a total loss of function on both sides of the body. It doesn’t mean that the spinal cord has been cut or transected – it simply means that all motor and sensory function below the injury is gone.
An incomplete spinal cord injury is where the patient does not lose total control of their sensory or motor function. If a patient has some function below the point of injury, then it is said to be incomplete. One side of the body may be more affected than the other, or both sides can be equally affected by the injury.
As you can imagine, the severity and level of dysfunction can vary greatly in incomplete injuries like these. Some may result in lifelong issues, while others may be improved through extensive treatment and physical therapy.
Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)
Traumatic Brain Injuries, or TBIs, are caused by a traumatic blow or jolt to the head or penetration of the skull by a foreign object. A TBI can be mild to severe and can have temporary or permanent damaging effects on the victim. The initial or primary injury takes place at the time of the blow to the head. This is when the soft brain tissue collides against the hard skull, resulting in bruising, bleeding, and tearing of the nerve fibers in the brain. The secondary injury involves the swelling that takes place in the brain after the initial impact. This swelling shrinks the normal space that exists between the brain and the skull, thereby lessening the amount of oxygen-rich blood that can pass to the brain. Unfortunately, this secondary injury can actually cause more damage than the initial impact.
Some symptoms of TBI are:
- Loss of consciousness
- Memory loss / amnesia
- Sleep issues
- Visual issues
- Poor attention span; lack of concentration
- Emotional issues
Contact an Experienced Attorney If You Have Been Injured in a Slip, Trip, or Fall.
If you have received one of these types of injuries from a slip, trip, or fall, you need an experienced attorney like Law Offices of David M. Benenfeld P.A to get the compensation you need to cover your medical bills and tangible and intangible expenses. Call our office today, or contact us online to schedule your free case evaluation today.