Fall Injuries

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Last Medical Review: March 28, 2020
Medically Reviewed by Dr. David Costa Navarro

As you get older, the risk of falling and having a bone fracture or crack in the skeleton increases. This is because the skeleton becomes brittle over the years, while many also get worse balance and vision. The most common are injuries to the wrist, hip or shoulder.

Most who fall do so at home. It is more common for women to injure themselves, since osteoporosis is more common in women than in men.

What increases the risk of fall injuries?

The balance deteriorates when you drink alcohol. Diseases such as dementia, stroke, diabetes and Parkinson’s disease can cause poor balance. It can also be impaired by various drugs. This is especially true if you use medicines for anxiety, sleep problems, depression and delusions. Some blood pressure lowering drugs may also impair balance. Talk to your doctor if you experience dizziness with your medication.

Symptoms

The symptoms are different depending on how you fell and how loud the case was. Here are some examples of symptoms of various fall injuries:

  • You can break your wrist if you fall forward and receive yourself with your hand. A fracture of the wrist causes you to feel sore and difficult to move the hand and it becomes swollen.
  • You can get a hip fracture if you fall to the side. It hurts and the leg will then also be twisted outwards and you cannot support it.
  • You can have an upper arm fracture if you fall forward or sideways and do not receive you by hand. Then you get hurt and hard to move your arm.
  • You may get bleeding inside your head if you fall and hit your head.
  • You can get a vertebra compression if you fall. Then you get a lot of back pain.

When and where should I seek care?

Call 911 if any of the following apply to you:

  • You’re in a lot of pain.
  • You can’t support the leg.
  • You have damaged your head or neck.

Treatment

Some damage to the skeleton heals by itself. But sometimes dressings or other treatment are needed, for example plaster or surgery.

How to prevent fall injuries

Being physically active is important to avoid falls and fall injuries. You should train both strength and balance. Strength training increases muscle strength and also reduces the risk of being seriously injured if you still have the misfortune to fall. Balance training is of great importance in reducing the risk of falls.

You can improve safety indoors if you remove things that you can easily stumble upon, such as loose cords and carpets. It is also good to arrange so that you do not have to go up on chairs and ladders to reach things. Here are a few more things you can do at home to increase security:

  • Place slip protection under carpets.
  • Have several lights on and even at night if you need to go to the bathroom then.
  • Install handles on the wall by the tub or shower.
  • Use a slip mat in the bathtub and shower.
  • Wear sturdy shoes.

It is also good to have the phone with you should you fall over.

There are aids to assist with walking. If it is slippery outside you can put sprigs on the shoes.

Osteoporosis increases the risk of fall injuries

Smoking contributes to osteoporosis, which increases the risk of bone fractures in the event of a fall. Therefore, it is good if you stop smoking.

Influence and participate in your care

As a patient, according to the Patient Act, you have the opportunity to influence your care.

You should understand the information

In order for you to be involved in your care and treatment, it is important that you understand the information you receive from the healthcare staff. Ask questions if you don’t understand.

You have the opportunity to get help from an interpreter if you do not speak English . You also have the opportunity to get help from an interpreter if you have a hearing loss.

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