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4 Types of Falls

Falls are defined as losses of balance that result in unexpected and rapid descents to lower surfaces, typically the floor. While the definition of a fall may be universal, falls are not all the same. Below are 4 descriptions for different types of falls:

1. Tips are falls that occurs when standing in one place (feet are stationary) and the individual leans, reaches, or extends too far in one direction, loses their balance, and falls. The image of this type of fall is tree blowing in the wind. If the wind blows too hard in one direction, the tree sways, breaks, and falls. 

2. Trips are falls that happen when the foot impacts an unexpected object during gait, causing the foot to suddenly stop, and the individual to fall forward. Examples of trips include the foot hitting/catching a tree root, extension cord, pet, step, rock, etc. 

3. Slips typically occur when foot lands on a smooth, slick surface, and continues to slides forward quickly and uncontrollably. As the foot slips forward, the individual is unable to gain traction and falls to the floor, often landing on their bottom, hip, and or hand. 

4. Drops are falls that result from a sudden giving way. Examples include a knee buckling from pain, leg giving out due to weakness, or sliding off edge of bed or chair due to misjudgment, to name a few.
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About the Author: Shane Haas is a Physical Therapist with 20+ years of experience in the area of balance rehabilitation. He currently serves as Director of Rehabilitation at New Braunfels Regional Rehabilitation Hospital in New Braunfels, TX. He is also President and co-founder of ADL 365 Inc. (, a company that invents, tests, and makes exercise products by therapists for therapists. Shane can be reached at