why do we fall and trip

Why Do We Fall and Trip? Understanding Possible Causes

Our bodies are constantly moving and are always busy. Apart from when we’re asleep, we are mostly carrying out even the most basic tasks. Some activities require us to move such as brushing our teeth, taking a bath, driving, walking, cooking, working out, and other daily activities. At night, we rest our bodies and continue the cycle the next day. While doing these activities, we may unexpectedly experience to fall and trip.

Our eyes, brains, nerves, muscles, and bones (the motor and sensory system) work together. These keep us balanced and coordinated as we move about. The body works every single hour of the day making us active. But sometimes, accidents happen. We may bump into things, or we slip and fall.

We may trip and fall because we are not careful or it might indicate an underlying medical condition.

Causes Why We Fall and Trip:

When the body seems not coordinated, and our brain does not process information quickly we tend to become clumsy. But sometimes a simple activity like walking or running may cause us to fall and trip. Let me cite two causes here :

1. External causes

  • Slipping – it occurs when there is little or no friction between our shoes and the floor or ground. Some things that make us slip and fall are; oil spills, wet floors, the weather, loose rugs, surfaces that don’t have good grips.
  • Tripping – when your feet bumps into an object in your path, making you lose balance, trip, and eventually fall. Some things that make us trip and fall are uncovered cables, objects out of view, poor lighting, dark stairways, uneven surfaces, rumpled up rugs, etc.

2. Internal causes

  • Dizziness – This is one of the main causes of falling. Feeling lightheaded might not be a cause for worry but finding out the reason why is important to avoid future risks. Some of the causes of dizziness include; low blood pressure, dehydration, ear infections, aging, heart problems.
  • Vision and hearing problems – Having problems with our eyes and ears makes moving around more difficult. Hence, eye problems prevent us from seeing things that could make us trip and fall.
  • Weak muscles in the leg – As we grow older, our muscles get weaker; it then becomes difficult for us to move about and attend to our daily activities. Lack of proper exercise weakens the muscle.
  • Poor balance – This can occur for various reasons such as dizziness, heart problem, weakness, sickness, etc.
  • Foot problems: Some infections can affect the way we use our feet. Also, tight or too loose footwear can affect how we walk and make us fall.
  • Medical conditions: Elderly people may have major causes such as Parkinson’s disease, neuropathy, cardiovascular diseases, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and visual impairments.

What Happens When We Fall and Trip:

  • Bruises or cuts – The most common injuries one can get and should be treated with proper care to avoid disfigurement.
  • Sprains – When we fall, our bodies react by trying to save ourselves from the fall. During the course of trying to move the body in a way that would avoid a serious injury, the ligaments in our wrists and ankles could tear. It may take a long time for sprains to heal.
  • Broken bones – This occurs when there is excess pressure on the bone that is impacted by the fall. When the pressure is too much for the bone to handle, it breaks. The ankles, hip, wrist are common bones that can be affected when a fall happens.
  • Damages to some parts of the body – Some knee injuries require serious reconstruction and they heal slowly.
  • Dislocations – Dislocated bones are painful kinds of injuries that sometimes require surgery and a long recovery time.
  • Injury or Damage – Whether your head hits the ground or not, you could still have serious injuries on your brain.
  • Nerve damage – This could be permanent or temporary, depending on the extent of the damage.
  • Spinal injuries – Having injuries on your spine can also be life-threatening or cause permanent damage like loss of motor skills.
  • Soft tissue injury – Soft tissue injury of STI is the type of injury that affects parts that’s not bones such as muscles, ligaments, and tendons throughout the body.
  • Head injury – Concussions, disorientation, or memory loss can stem from having a head injury and it can last for weeks or even months after a fall.

How to prevent not to fall and trip :

Keep your surroundings safe for movement and our bodies properly groomed can prevent us from falling. Here are some measures to carry out to prevent external factors:

  • Keep the area well lit and fix faulty lights.
  • Clean oil spills and wet floors. And then by marking wet floors with a hazard symbol, it would prevent someone from walking into them.
  • Removing obstacles from walkways.
  • Covering cables and fixing them out of your way.
  • Mending loose rugs or mats.
  • Fixing uneven floors by re-coating or replacing them with better ones.
  • Wear footwear that fit perfectly.


Falling can be an accident or a serious issue. Sometimes we take a step that confuses our brains and this can lead to us falling. For example, when going up the stairs, one wrong move could lead to a serious fall. Falling from the stairs can cause serious injuries. Therefore, care should be taken to avoid external factors that could lead to us falling.

A fall can result from clumsiness or from not being aware of our environment. However, taking note of signs of other serious reasons why falls happen can help prevent serious future injuries. When you fall without an external factor being the cause, seek medical attention to determine the cause of the fall.

Did you know that flamingo birds can stand on one leg and not fall or trip? Check out my previous post about this unique habit of this particular bird.

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