Types of Falls – Ashley Johnston AEP


There are different way to fall such as trips, slips, stumbling and stepping while walking. All are different in why they can occur.

  • Slips are generally cause by being on a slippery surface and the type of shoes that you are wearing. There are 2 types.
    • First: when the  heel of the front foot makes contact with the surface, with this front foot slipping forward resulting with the individual falling backwards.
    • Second: the rear foot slips backwards, this occurs when walking forward the weight to move forward is through the sole of the rear foot. As the rear heel lifts the weight shifts to the front sole and the foot slips back resulting in a fall.
  • Trips generally occur when your foot catches or is stopped by an object resulting in a fall forward.
    • For example, catching your foot on a power cord OR catching your leg on the corner of a coffee table.
  • Stumbling can be where we have an uncontrollable movement or shift to one side that causes us to stumble or could be when we catch our foot on nothing and take a few stumbling steps to keep ourselves upright.
  • Stepping during everyday activities
    • this type of fall can occur when you are changing the surface that you are walking on and the front foot lands on a surface that is lower than expected, generally falling forward. Example is going from walking on the sidewalk to stepping onto the road without noticing that there is a curb.
    • When walking the foot is placed on an object or surface that has either the inside or outside of the foot on a higher surface resulting with an ankle rotation that results in falling forward and sideways. For example, walking down stairs and there is a kid’s toy on the step that you do not see, and you then step on.

These types of falls can occur for anyone, so it is important to always be aware of your surroundings as you are walking. Performing balance exercises regularly can also assist with reducing your risk of falls.