Falling In Adults – Why It Seems To Hurt So Much More Than When We Were Kids

Falling In Adults – Why It Seems To Hurt So Much More Than When We Were Kids

04th February 2014

Using a ladder always presents a risk.  Whether it’s at work or in the home, ladders can be dangerous pieces of equipment if you don’t learn how to use the properly and respect the fact that there are so many risks associated with them.  Just about every week in the UK, somebody dies by falling off a ladder.  Whether it’s a fall from a great height or a fall from just a few rungs up, falling is pretty dangerous for adults.

Kids fall over all the time and on most occasions they are none the worse for wear.  Sometimes they’ll suffer a grazed knee or elbow, especially if they fall over on a hard surface.  Sometimes kids fall from playground equipment and will suffer a broken limb.  However, they usually seem to bounce back pretty quickly.  What’s their secret, we wonder.  Well, kids are learning gross motor skills (using their arms and legs) and when they’re learning to walk they pretty much fall over every few steps at first.  This means that they’re used to falling.  They have softer bones than adults do and seem to be much more resilient.

Kids usually carry on falling over throughout childhood.  They race around like made things without any consideration of safety issues and seem to get away with it most of the time.  As kids grow, they have to get used to their longer legs and arms and this will often cause them to fall over as they literally can’t keep up with the rate at which they’re sprouting!  Kids seem to be designed to fall over and come to little harm.

However, when we fall as adults, it’s a bit of a shock.  We’ve learned to walk properly, we’re used to our body size (especially when we’ve stopped growing) and we’ve developed a good sense of balance.  All these factors combine to make sure that most adults rarely fall over and we get used to this state of affairs.  Then, when we do have a fall, however small, it comes as a bit of a shock.  When we fall as an adult we seem to go down like a ton of bricks!  Even if it’s a tripping over type fall that causes no real injury, we still feel really sore all over for days afterwards.  This is because we’re no longer used to falling over and we feel the effects quite severely in our bones.

Alarmingly, if we fall off something as an adult (a ladder or a chair we’ve been using to reach a top cupboard perhaps) then we’re much more likely to suffer an injury than kids do.  Our bones are no longer soft and can’t absorb the shock on impact.  Broken arms, elbows and legs are quite commonplace when an adult falls from a relatively low height.  Falls from a greater height (even from an ordinary household ladder) may well cause quite severe injuries or even death.

The best way to avoid such falls is to take care when using ladders, stools and chairs to reach something that’s not easily accessible.  Thinking things through and taking a bit of extra care could make all the difference between reaching what you want safely and a trip to the local hospital.