What is Blunt Force Trauma? – Its Causes and Effects

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This might be an unfamiliar term for many but the consequences are very familiar and common. Definitely almost everyone has suffered this on or more occasions and in varying severity.

When you; don’t wear your seatbelts, jaywalk, fight, run up/down a flight of stairs, walk on slippery floors… etc. you put yourself at risk of this non-penetrative trauma.

In this article we will define the term Blunt Force Trauma, likely causes and the results of this.


What is Blunt Force Trauma?


This is also called blunt trauma or non-penetrating trauma. It is a kind of injury that does not involve penetration of the skin like Stab wounds, instead this is more impact based usually from a dull object e.g. Batons, bricks…etc.

Depending on the level of impact i.e. how hard the hit was on the body, internal organs could also suffer mild to severe injuries and develop other health complications following such an accident. Note that in most severe conditions this could lead to death.

Some symptoms of this includes; tenderness, swelling, bruises, pain, hypovolemia (loss of body fluid, e.g. blood) …

Blunt trauma injuries are divided into four;

  • Contusion ;
  • Contusion
    Bruise on woman arm. Injection bruises. Doctor and patient.

This is also called bruise; this can cause damage to tissue and blood vessels.


  • Laceration; 
  • Laceration
    Deep, bloody wound, cut with knife or saw on the leg, Mobile image.

This kind of injury is a gash, cut or tear to the skin; usually with rough edges.


  • Abrasion ;
  • Abrasion
    skin of the knee caused by an accident. Close-up of knee bruised wounded. selective focus

This kind of wound is superficial, it involves the damage to the epidermis by grazing.


  • Fracture ;
  • Fracture

This is simply a clean break or partial break of the bone.


What can cause of Blunt force trauma?


Let’s take this by depicting scenarios instead;

  • A heavy blow to any part of the body by hand, swinging bat a full force, or a fire extinguisher bottle.
  • A car crash, hitting your chest on the steering wheel or dashboard.
  • Falling to the ground; from a height, or slipping and banging your head, hitting leg or arm on the floor or stairs.
  • Getting rammed into a wall or still heavy object
  • Battery, by this I mean taking a beating or getting physically assaulted.


Results of Blunt Force Trauma


The results fall into the categories already list above, contusion, abrasion, laceration and fracture. Contusion can equally happen to bones and organ depending on the impact.

Damage to internal organs can easily happen to organs like the spleen, kidneys, diaphragm and liver, and rarely the small intestines.


Some accompanying health complications;

  • Hemorrhage can lead to hypotension (this can result in death).
  • Blot clotting, in mild cases it will eventually heal, but severe blood clotting can develop bigger issues that could be life threatening.
  • Trauma to the head can cause damage to the arteries in the brain.
  • It can lead to miscarriage in pregnant women.



Blunt force trauma is a common and often life-threatening injury that is caused by impact, which could be a from taking a hit, or falling… etc.

It is a non-penetration trauma, this kind of injury doesn’t involve puncture or penetration through tissue, rather it involves hits from dull objects.

The severity of the injury is directly related to the gravity of the impact and nature of object.

Death from blunt force trauma is called blunt trauma death.

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