A Brief Note On Falling And Injury Prevention

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Kinematics of Falling Injury prevention is one of the most significant driving forces for the study of biomechanics. Understanding what causes people to get injured allows us to design better, safer products and systems that make injury less likely. While relatively new, the kinematic study of falls and maintaining stability is an important area in injury prevention. This is especially relevant to the elderly, who fall at a much higher rate than the average population. According to one study, 32% of people over the age of 74 fall at least once a year. Individuals over the age of 85 are almost 100 times more likely to die as the result of a fall than those younger than 65, making this figure even more alarming (Luchies, Alexander, Schultz,…show more content…
Fall impact research measures the speeds and forces involved once an individual has lost his/her balance and is going to hit the ground. Fall recovery research was conducted to find differences in how young and old people responded to sudden pulls at the waist. Little difference was found in the kinematics of body segment and joint rotation. Differences were, however, identified in the number and length of steps taken by the older and younger participants (Luchies et al., 1994). Though it yielded interesting results about balance recovery strategies, fall recovery research failed to pay dividends in terms of injury prevention. Studies this removed from the actual impact of a fall are unable to find substantial injury-provoking differences between younger and older people. Highly concerned with improving safety for the elderly, researchers like Luchies and colleagues refrained from measuring scenarios where participants actually lost balance. This limited the scope of their findings. A study by van den Kroonenberg, Hayes, and McMahon (1996) revolutionized fall research. It was the first study to use “human volunteers as subjects to study fall kinematics” and involved video taping 19 to 30-year-old participants falling on cushioned mats. The shift in focus from fall recovery to fall impact opened up a brand new frontier of inquiry. Measuring the kinematics acting on free-falling individuals and those
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