Falls can cause a variety of serious injuries for people of almost any age. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that one fall out of five causes major physical problems, such as head injuries.
While head trauma is a common result of a fall, such incidents may result in other serious injuries, some of which are not always immediately evident and could cause secondary physical issues unless treated as soon as possible.
Hip fractures happen often in older individuals, who often land on their side after a fall. When someone has an existing medical problem or if he or she takes certain medications that may compromise the strength of the bones, these fractures can cause a rapid decline. Some illnesses, such as osteoporosis, can increase the risk of hip fractures during a fall.
When people fall forward, they tend to throw their arms forward to catch themselves. However, if they cannot prevent the fall and land on their hands, the force can cause a wrist fracture in one or both hands. This is especially a risk for older individuals who already have weak or compromised bone density issues.
Traumatic brain injury
In cases where people fall backward and strike the backs of their heads, a traumatic brain injury is possible. This includes hematomas and bruising of the brain. This type of injury is sometimes evident when the victim’s speech patterns, memory or mobility changes hours or days after the fall.
Older people at risk of a fall can reduce the odds of serious injury by strengthening their leg and feet muscles and removing or avoiding spaces with cluttered or narrow walkways.