Mechanism of injury is the manner in which a physical injury has occurred. It describes how, with what force, and to which part of the body energy was applied4.

This information is often given at the beginning of a handover of a patient between teams for context and provides a clue as to what type and severity of injuries we may expect.

For example: patient fell 10ft from tree onto head, or patient fell from standing height.

HOWEVER, it is easy to underestimate what injuries may have occurred judging by mechanism alone.

The 2 components of what injuries occur in a trauma are;

  1. The mechanism and energies involved
  2. The strength of the tissues subjected to the injury

We know that a fall from standing can cause severe multisystem traumatic injuries in the elderly compared with most healthy 25-year-olds who would have little or no injury from the same mechanism.