A fall can change your day, your week, and maybe even your life. These injuries can often happen anywhere and to anyone, which can be frightening in their suddenness, and cause severe pain and injury. Falls are the most common variety of accidental injuries. However, a fall is not a type of injury, it is a cause.
Sometimes people fall, and don’t feel any significant pain until the next day; but when they do begin to feel pain, it is often associated with discomfort and limited range of motion. Those symptoms might mean something more serious. That is when it is time for them to be examined by an orthopedist. So, what are the most common type of fall injuries?
Soft Tissue Injuries
Soft tissue injuries aren’t always visible, because they can be internal. You might not even realize that you have a soft tissue injury for a while after the initial fall, without proper examination. Soft tissue injuries range from minor ankle and wrist sprains, to devastating tears in tendons and ligaments.
If left untreated, these soft tissue injuries can cause chronic pain, and also make you more vulnerable to other injuries and complications. Since soft tissue injuries don’t always produce immediate symptoms, even if you feel fine after a fall, it’s important to seek medical care immediately.
Head Injuries (TBI and concussions)
Head injuries are often the result of a fall. Even an apparently minor head injury is a medical emergency. If you fall and hit your head there is often swelling, sometimes bleeding, and if concussions happen as a result, you may even experience a brief loss of consciousness. This requires immediate medical attention, and further complications can happen if you wait.
Minor concussions usually clear up on their own, but more serious traumatic brain injuries (TBI) can occur, and permanently alter your ability to function. Head injuries cannot be diagnosed based on symptoms alone, and some very serious head injuries produce only minimal symptoms at first. Therefore, no matter how fine you feel, you should always get a head injury examined by a doctor.
Cuts and Abrasions
Depending on where and how you fall, cuts and abrasions can be quite painful. These cuts and abrasions could also look quite severe. Leg and arm abrasions are common, as well as ones to the head and hips. In most cases, these injuries may only require ointment or some stitches. However, the result often depends on the impact of the fall. More serious injuries may occur such as concussions and broken bones.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries occur when the spinal cord is either severed or compressed. After a fall, these types of injuries are almost always life-threatening, and demand immediate medical care and ongoing treatment. The higher up in the spinal cord the injury is located, the more extensive the damage will be. Severe spinal cord injuries can cause paralysis.
Broken Bones / fractures:
Broken bones are one of the most common injuries due to falls. They are painful, scary, and can range from only minor fractures to severe breaks, that may require surgery depending on where and how severe the injury is. For example, the tissue surrounding the broken bones may also be damaged, causing bleeding, swelling, and severe pain, needing prompt medical intervention in hopes of having a decent recovery.
To learn more about common injuries that occur due to falling, and how we can treat them, call Orthopaedic Associates of Central Maryland at (410) 644-1880, or request an appointment online.