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Common Injuries After a Slip and Fall Accident

man on floor holding knee in pain

According to the CDC, 8 million people are treated in U.S. emergency departments for slip and fall injuries every year. [1]

Over 3 million of those falls are suffered by Americans 65 years or older. And the total medical cost of treating these falls was over $50 billion in 2015 alone. [2]

The most common injuries from slip and fall accidents include:

  1. Sprains and Strains
  2. Fractures
  3. Herniated Discs
  4. Head Injuries
  5. Soft Tissue Damage
  6. Dislocations

The severity of each of the injuries mentioned above will vary based on the circumstances of the fall and the surface on which the person lands.

Below, we have discussed the common symptoms to look for after a fall. Please remember that we are not medical doctors, and all diagnoses should be given by a medical professional. You can learn more about what to do after a slip and fall accident here.

It's important to seek medical attention as soon as possible after a fall or any other accident that may have caused an injury and to speak with a Milwaukee slip and fall attorney.


1 - Sprains & Strains

skeletal foot with muscle and ankle shown.

Sprains or strains of muscles, tendons, or ligaments are one of the more common types of injuries from a fall.

These types of injuries typically occur in the lower back (lumbar area), legs, and arms and can cause pain, stiffness, and movement difficulties. Victims of a slip and fall can find it difficult to return to work or to perform simple daily tasks as a result of a sprain or strain.

Sometimes, the injured person may continue to work and run errands despite the injury, which could potentially make it far worse and create difficulties in healing later on.

A sprain typically refers to the overstretching or tearing of a ligament, the tissue that connects bones to each other, and a strain is an injury to a muscle or tendon, the tissue that connects muscle to bone.

Both sprains and strains can be caused by a sudden twisting or bending movement, or by a slip and fall accident.

Symptoms of a sprain or strain may include:

  • Pain
  • Swelling or bruising
  • Stiffness
  • Muscle spasms
  • Weakness or tenderness
  • Cramping

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms above, you may have a sprain but it’s recommended that you see a doctor immediately after a slip and fall to receive a proper medical diagnosis.

Doctors are better equipped to diagnose an injury and may discover other underlying injuries that are not immediately apparent.


2 - Fractures

Fractures can be one of the more serious consequences of a slip and fall accident and affect roughly 5% of those injured in a fall. [2]

The most common fractures after a slip and fall include:broken collar bone xray

  • Hip fractures: Over 95% of hip fractures are caused by slip and fall accidents, typically when falling sideways. [2]
  • Wrist fractures: Wrist fractures are typically caused because the injured person attempts to “break” the fall.
  • Ankle Fractures: Missteps or falls from a slight or significant height can put stress on ankles which causes fractures.

Fractures may be slightly more common in older adults, particularly postmenopausal women, who are at higher risk of osteoporosis. But it’s important to remember that even a young person could sustain a fracture after an accident. [3]

Symptoms of a fracture may include:

  • Visibly out-of-place or mishappen limb or joint
  • Intense pain
  • Swelling around the area
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Muscle spasms
  • Broken skin
  • Swollen tissue or bruising
  • Limited mobility

The symptoms of a fracture can be similar to those of a sprain or strain, so after a slip and fall, be sure to get a medical examination as soon as possible to help determine the extent and type of injury.

An X-ray or other imaging test may be necessary to confirm the diagnosis. Treatment for compression fractures typically includes rest, pain management, and bracing. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to stabilize the bone and prevent further collapse or injury.


3 - Herniated Disc

A herniated disc, also known as a slipped or ruptured disc, may occur when the gel-like center of a spinal disc (the nucleus pulposus) pushes out through a tear or crack in the outer ring (the annulus fibrosus).

This can put pressure on the spinal nerves, causing pain, numbness, tingling, and muscle weakness in the affected area of the body.


Herniated discs can happen in any part of the spine, but they are most common in the lower back (lumbar region). They can be caused by a sudden impact or trauma, such as a slip and fall accident.

Symptoms of a herniated disc include:

  • Lower back pain
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Sciatica (pain that radiates down the leg)
  • Muscle weakness
  • Difficulty with movement

Keep in mind, not all herniated discs cause symptoms and in some cases, a herniated disc can be asymptomatic.

Whether you are experiencing any of the above symptoms or if you believe you may have a spinal injury, it is important to get a professional medical examination as soon as possible to rule out an injury and determine the extent and type of injury


4 - Head Injuries

Head injuries sustained from slip and fall accidents can range from minor to severe, and can result from the head hitting a hard surface or from the brain being moved suddenly inside the skull.

The most common head injuries after a slip and fall include:

  • Concussion: A sudden blow to the head or any sort of whiplash may result in a concussion. In the past, these injuries were considered minor, but new research suggests they are a type of TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) and should be treated as soon as possible.
  • Hematoma: Falls and blows to the head can cause damage to the brain’s outer blood vessels which may cause a clot. It may be necessary to relieve the pressure as soon as possible.
  • Contusion: Some falls and accidents can cause the brain to bruise as a result of trauma. Some contusions can be severe and require medical attention.

Over 800,000 patients a year are hospitalized because of a fall injury, most often because of a head injury or hip fracture. [2]

Head injuries or TBIs can range in severity. It’s important to understand your medical diagnosis and to speak with a medical professional as soon as possible.

Common symptoms of head injuries include:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Memory loss or amnesia
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Slurred speech
  • Convulsions or seizures
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Neck pain or stiffness

In severe cases, head injuries can result in long-term disability or even death. It is important to seek medical attention immediately if you suspect a head injury, even if symptoms are mild. Also, seek the advice of a traumatic brain injury lawyer as soon as possible.


5 - Soft Tissue Damage & Bruises

A soft tissue injury is often referred to as a contusion. This happens when a muscle or soft tissue is directly affected in a slip and fall accident or from a direct blow, such as falling on the back.

Although many contusions are considered minor, some contusions occur in the deep tissue of a muscle and can be quite severe. If left untreated, these contusions can affect a person's mobility and quality of life long-term.

Common symptoms of soft tissue injuries include:

  • Pain in the immediate area
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Stiffness
  • Limited mobility
  • Muscle spams

It's important to note that a contusion or bruise may not show up on imaging tests, so diagnosis is often based on the patient's symptoms and physical examination. In some cases, a CT scan or MRI may be ordered to ensure there is no deep tissue damage or other underlying issues as a result of the accident.

If you have any pain or discomfort in your back after a slip and fall accident, it's important to seek medical attention as soon as possible to determine the cause of the injury and to ensure appropriate treatment is provided.


6 - Dislocations

shoulder dislocation xray

Dislocation injuries can occur as a result of a slip and fall accident when a bone is forced out of its normal position in a joint.

Some common symptoms of a dislocation include:

  • Severe pain
  • Swelling and tenderness
  • Limited mobility in the affected joint
  • Unusual appearance of the affected limb

In some cases, a dislocated joint may look visibly out of place or appear deformed. If you suspect you have suffered a dislocation injury after a slip and fall accident, it is important to seek medical attention immediately, as dislocations can cause additional damage to the surrounding tissue if left untreated.



It is important to seek medical attention after a slip and fall accident, even if you do not think you have suffered any serious injuries. You may not see an injury or even feel it at first, but if you are not treated, these injuries can get worse.

If you wait too long to get treatment or to file a report, you could miss potential compensation for your accident. Slip and fall accidents are covered by personal injury attorneys who can help you get the compensation you deserve.

Specifically, some injuries, such as soft tissue injuries or concussions, can be difficult to diagnose and may not show symptoms immediately. Furthermore, some injuries, such as internal bleeding or spinal cord injuries, may not be noticeable without a thorough examination.

Additionally, seeking medical attention after a slip and fall accident can also provide valuable documentation of any injuries sustained, which can be important in the event that you need to file a personal injury claim.

In short, it is always best to be careful and seek medical attention after a slip and fall accident to ensure that any injuries are properly diagnosed and treated.




Disclaimer: This post provides general information but is not legal advice and should not be construed as legal advice.


Steven Gruber car accident attorney
( Personal Injury Attorney )

Attorney Steven Gruber was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. His family has deep roots in the Wisconsin legal community, as his father, David, founded Gruber Law Offices almost 40 years ago and his mother, Nancy, is a managing attorney with the firm. Steven is an award-winning attorney who focuses on serious injury cases and firm strategy and operations. Some of Steven’s awards and memberships include National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Trial Lawyers, Top 10 Attorney in Wisconsin by the National Academy of Personal Injury Attorneys, The National Trial Lawyers Top 40 Under 40, and the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, just to name a few. He has successfully handled cases regarding serious matters that have been publicized by the Today Show, Good Morning America, ABC, Fox and many other media outlets. At Gruber Law Offices, Steven also manages and leads a powerful team of 130 talented professionals. He is proud to continue the family legacy of positively impacting our community.