Usually, walking from one place to another is an easy and safe experience that most of us do not even think about. Some people appear to be unlucky such that something that should be safe and easy actually ends up injuring them. But luck actually has very little to do with it because, in many cases, it is actually caused by the negligence of a premise owner, who allows a state of disrepair or poor maintenance to continue. As such, these environments are unsafe and just waiting for an accident to happen. Unfortunately, until somebody slips, trips or falls, very little will be done about it.
Slip and trip accidents are often not taken seriously. It seems that people assume a slip, trip or fall is a minor occurrence with little to no consequence. In reality, however, it accounts for one million visits to the emergency room each year. Not just that, slips and falls can actually be lethal and any non-lethal injuries can be very severe. These accidents are very dangerous and certainly no laughing matter. Besides potential physical damage, people can also become emotionally scarred, worrying that they will fall again. What’s perhaps worst for many people is that it can also lead to substantial financial losses as a result of high medical bills and an inability to return to work. If this happens, people should put in a slip and fall claim, which is usually covered under premises liability.
A very common injury that happens when people slip, trip or fall is an injury to the knee. While each injury is unique in its severity and type, there are a number of commonalities that have been seen again and again. As such, four specific knee injury types are likely to occur following a slip and fall.
If someone falls forward after a slip, they are likely to land on their knees. The sheer force of this could actually cause the kneecap or the knee joint to fracture. Unfortunately, patellar fractures (fractures to the kneecap) are very serious injuries. In most cases, they will require surgery in order to heal. Each individual fracture varies, with most people experiencing very significant pain, bruising and swelling as well as an inability to use or straighten the knee. As such, they often are unable to walk until the fracture has been repaired.
Sprains happen when the knee’s ligaments are stretched beyond their capabilities during a slip or fall. This can happen regardless of which direction someone is falling in. Usually, a sprain happens as a result of a very sudden movement. The symptoms that people usually experience when they have strained their knee include stiffness, pain, bruising and swelling. This can be quite debilitating. The injury can be very severe and many need surgery, particularly if the ligaments were actually torn. In many cases, people will feel and/or hear a pop in their knee when the sprain happens.
The meniscus, which is the joint of the knee, can tear. This tends to happen when there is a sudden turn or twist in the knee, while the foot remains in the same place. A tear in knee may heal on its own with physical therapy. However, surgery may be required if the tear doesn’t heal. In this case, cartilage has to be removed and this can lead to permanent damage and weakness in the knee joint. A meniscus tear is a very serious issue and is incredibly painful. Sufferers will experience swelling and limited movement.
4. ACL Injuries
An ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) injury happens when the knee bends unnaturally backwards, when it twists, or when it jerks from side to side. An ACL injury can be partial or complete. An avulsion can also occur, which is the most painful of all and happens when there is a full twist in the ligament itself. In most cases, people who experience an ACL injury will feel and/or hear a pop in the knee at the time of the injury. As with most knee problems, pain and swelling can occur and movement will be limited.
Knee injuries are very serious. They are incredibly painful and usually mean that people are unable to return to their usual lives for a long time. This also means that they are unable to work, leading to significant loss of income. Furthermore, most knee injuries are treated non-surgically first, meaning many visits to physicians and physiotherapists are needed. If this doesn’t work, patients will need to go through surgery, followed by a significant period of rehabilitation. During all this time, returning to work will be all but impossible.
The psychological effects of falling and injuring a knee can also not be denied. Upon being born, human beings have just two fears: loud noises and falling. Most of us overcome both these fears. However, if a fall does happen and it has significant consequences in terms of injuries, the psychological effects can be severe. Indeed, the National Center for Biotechnology Information has published a quantitative study on the psychological impact of falling in elderly people in particular, in whom the injuries are also often most severe. They found that these people often rebuild their fear of falling, often to the point that they start to experience social isolation and withdrawal.
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