Slip and fall injury was responsible for 1.1 million days away from work in 2017, with the majority of cases occurring in the private workforce. On a grimmer note, they are the second-leading cause of death among elderly persons.
Part of this is because there rarely is anything alleviate the impact of a slip and fall; few people fall on a soft surface or happen to be wearing a restraint. The key is to prevent a fall injury in the first place.
Slippery Surfaces and Back Injury From Falling Backwards
Slippery surfaces, like wet or greasy floors, practically invite back injuries, especially back injury caused by falling backwards.
Researchers have found that slipping interrupts a person’s center of gravity (COG), as opposed to stumbling and recovering balance. Some people, particularly older ones, will fall backward when their COG is thrown off-balance. If the faller lands on the buttocks, there will probably just be soreness, but falling on a bony part like the back can result in a devastating injury.
A Shoulder Injury from a Fall is Painful and Complex
Shoulders often take the brunt of a forward fall, and a shoulder injury from a fall impacts soft tissue and bone, making it doubly painful!
These injuries are also complicated from a healing point of view. A hard fall on the shoulder affects both a joint and a limb. It may result in a brachial plexus injury which affects the neural network that connects the arm, hand, and shoulder to the spinal cord. This can require surgery and months of physical therapy.
Elbow injuries from a fall can also affect the brachial plexus, but fractures and dislocation are more common (and quite painful). Dislocation often occurs when a person instinctively puts out a hand to stop a fall, and the force of the fall twists or rotates the elbow out of its socket.
Sticking out a hand to break a fall can also cause a central slip injury, in which the tendon that straightens the middle of a finger has been snapped apart. Splints and physical therapy will be needed to heal it.
Leg Injury From Fall Often Affect the Joints
Unless a person falls on something protruding, most leg injuries from a fall affect the joints, including the knee and hip.
The knee is one of the most complex parts of the body. It supports the body’s weight and injuring it can literally make a person immobile. Common knee injuries from slips and falls include:
- Fractures to the patella (kneecap) that may require surgery
- Dislocation caused by twisting the knee out of joint, similar to brachial plexus injury to the shoulder
- Tears to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), knee tissue that connects the upper and lower bones that keep the knee stable
Hip fractures resulting from falls among frail elderly people often lead to death within weeks unless surgery is performed within 24 hours, which itself can be risky. The immobility from hip fracture accelerates further decline and often leads to pneumonia.
Short Distance Falls on Hard Surfaces
Short-distance falls like slip and are particularly damaging on harder surfaces with less “give” like concrete, tile, or stone. This is where injuries go beyond painful soft tissue ones to one that affects bones like knees, shoulders, fingers, and elbows which often hit the ground first.
You can prevent slip and fall injuries by taking steps to quickly clean up spills. SpillFix is a natural absorbent that contains and soaks up all kinds of liquid spills faster and more completely than anything else we’ve seen on the market.