How to Fake an Injury

Four Parts:Choosing an InjuryCreating Your StoryThings to AvoidFollowing Up

Really need to get out of gym for the week you're playing dodgeball? Want to get out of work to spend time with your kids but you're out of PTO? Don't worry, we've got your (definitely thrown-out) back. See more information on how to fake an injury after the jump. Obviously these steps are intended for use in fictional situations, such as in books, for acting or for use in role play.

Part 1
Choosing an Injury

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    Fake a sprained ankle. A sprained ankle is fairly easy to fake and a very common injury. This injury is usually the result of a fall and takes 2-8 weeks to heal, depending on severity.
    • A good story for how you sprained your ankle would be that you tripped while walking down a steep hill, or fell from a street curb.
    • This injury can usually just be wrapped up in a fabric bandage, such as an Ace bandage. Crutches may be needed.
    • If forced to see a doctor, you want to portray mild to moderate pain and slight difficulty moving your foot. Too severe and tests may be ordered.
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    Consider shin splints. Shin splints are an injury to your shin (surprise!). There is very little evidence of shin splints, even on x-rays or scans, so this is a good option. Pain and some swelling are the usual symptoms and it takes a few weeks to heal.
    • If forced to see a doctor, tell the doctor that you are in pain and that your leg was a little swollen but it only seems to swell at night.
    • A good story for how you got shin splints would be that you tried to start running to lose weight/get in shape. This is a common cause of this injury.
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    Try a rotator cuff injury. Your rotator cuff is a series of muscles in your shoulder, which can get strained from too much force, usually from overhead. This injury heals in 2-6 weeks, depending on severity.
    • A good story for how you sprained your rotator cuff would be that you fell while going down the stairs and strained the muscles when you caught yourself.
    • This should be presented as mild to your doctor, as more severe injuries require surgery or injected steroids.
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    Think about a pinched nerve in the back. This is one of the harder to pass off injuries, as there are tests which can show that you're fine. Downplay it as mild to your doctor, to reduce the likelihood of further investigation.
    • Bed rest, maybe a back brace, and about a month healing time should get you through a "mild" injury.
    • A good story for how you hurt your back would be that you were lifting a heavy box and it just suddenly hurt very badly.
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    Fake a sprained ACL. The ACL is a ligament in your knee which is prone to injury from exercise and strain. This is one of the harder to pass off injuries, as there are tests which can show that you're fine. Downplay it as mild to your doctor, to reduce the likelihood of further investigation.
    • A good story for how you sprained your ACL would be that you jumped from a fairly high spot and landed badly.
    • This injury can usually just be wrapped up in a fabric bandage, such as an Ace bandage. Crutches may be needed as well.

Part 2
Creating Your Story

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    Find a plausible cause. If you're going to fake an injury, you're going to need to find a reasonable cause for that injury. It should be a fairly common injury, and gotten from something that you would plausibly do. See the injuries listed in the second section for examples of plausible causes for each injury.
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    Practice your story. You should know the details backwards, forwards, and upside down. Getting details mixed up when questioned is usually how people find out that you're lying. Do not add details every time you tell the story (though you should tell it in a slightly different way or a slightly different order, so that it doesn't sound rehearsed).
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    Be vague. You don't want to get too in-depth when you tell your story. This gives it a ring of being fake and pre-planned, like you don't think people are going to believe you. Tell the story naturally and as if you don't really want to talk about it.
    • BAD example: "I was walking down the stairs to get a can of soup from my basement and then I saw a spider which totally freaked me out so I tripped. Thankfully, I caught myself in time to keep from hitting my head, but I hurt my shoulder instead. I went to the doctor and we had to wait in the room for ages but then...", etc, etc.
    • GOOD example: "I tripped down the stairs and when I caught myself I guess I sprained something in my shoulder."

Part 3
Things to Avoid

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    Avoid injuries which leave outside marks. Anything such as cuts, bruises, scars (all of that stage-makeup stuff), might look convincing at first, but you run the risk of it looking different from day to day or getting caught red-handed if it gets wet. If you're going to fake an injury, it should be like one of those above, which has few outside indicators.
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    Don't "get hurt" at school or work. Just aside from the fact that any convincing staging of an injury will likely get you actually hurt, getting injured on school or work property opens them up for a lawsuit and they will more thoroughly investigate your injury. You want people to pay as little attention as possible.
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    Don't overact. Overacting is a clear sign of faking. Do you think you're the first person to ever fake an injury to get out of something? They will be naturally a bit suspicious, so don't give them reasons to suspect you even more.
    • Don't overact with doctors. Doctors especially will be able to tell. Let them see that you are in pain but don't make it seem too serious. You want to avoid getting expensive tests, like x-rays or MRIs.
    • Don't overact with others. Your teachers, teammates, classmates, coworkers, bosses, etc. will usually be able to tell if you're really hamming it up. Downplay your injury and don't moan and groan all the time.
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    Don't drop the act for even a moment. You need to be focused on keeping up the act, even when you think you're alone. You never know when someone might walk in. Even if you're among people that know you're faking, don't invite opportunity to get caught.

Part 4
Following Up

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    Give yourself about a week to heal. Having an injury for only one day, or only being in pain for one day is a clear sign that you faked it. Draw it out, even if you come back to school or work after only a day or two, over the course of at least a week. The length of time will depend on your fake injury.
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    Progress slowly towards easier movement. Make the "getting better" progression look normal. You should wince whenever you move in the beginning, but slowly progress towards being able to do more and more.
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    Don't pull this stunt more than once. The "major injury" excuse really only works once. If you do it twice then you're accident-prone, at best. Three times and people will definitely be able to put it together. Definitely don't get injuries close together. Separate them by at least a few months, if not years.


  • Often, faking backaches, pulled muscles, shoulder pain, etc., is better and more believable than arm or leg injuries and employers may let you sit down more, or go home early if your back is slowly getting more painful or stiff.
  • Try putting a stone or some gravel in your shoe on the "affected" leg. This way you won't need to make an effort when limping. A bottle cap also works well. Make sure no one finds out what's in your shoe!
  • If you plan on doing this often, make sure people at work know you are clumsy. Let them know when you've had a minor accident over the weekend that you don't take off work.
  • Do not use too much dirt on your fake cut or the injury will look too obvious to your parents.
  • Future "doctor appointments" for follow-ups can get you a morning or afternoon off work.
  • If you have ever had an injury before, try to make it look like you were when you got hurt.
  • You can wrap a bandage around the "effected" area to make it seem realistic.
  • Make sure your dates all match.
  • If you are good with makeup, you could use makeup to make your injuries look more convincing.
  • Talk about X-rays and technical scans, etc., that you may need to have in the future.
  • Always keep a fresh bottle of aspirin on your desk.
  • It works well to color the tip of a red sharpie marker with a brown sharpie.
  • If you "hurt" your foot, stay off it. If you are in school and have recess, don't go jumping around on that foot. Otherwise people might notice and you can get into big trouble!
  • You can also try getting a red pen and breaking it and putting it on your leg or arm it will make it look as if you were bleeding.
  • Make it seem like you don't want to talk about it. Cry a little, but don't overdo it.
  • If you say it's just pain say something like it's super sore or doesn't feel great.
  • The night before make sure you say what "happened", then ice it and wrap it when you go to bed, Take a pillow and elevate the "wounded" area and go to school with it on.
  • Don't wear makeup that makes wounds realistic, because doctors will find out sooner or later.
  • Don't change the story.
  • When you fall try practicing it a few times so when you actually fall it doesn't hurt you and so that it looks realistic.
  • The easiest injuries to fake are headaches or a sprained ankle. It works well and you don't have to fake the injuries for more than a day or 2.


  • Don't limp too heavily - this will give you away.
  • Beware. Parents probably will clean up the 'wound' before going to buy medicine. They will then find out the truth that you're healthy.
  • Doctors are not stupid. If you are trying to get them to sign a disability form or help you get benefits, they are much more suspicious than if you just need a note for a day off work. If your "injury" doesn't make any sense to them, you may get reported.
  • Don't make it seem too serious. You could get some medicine for an injury you don't have.
  • Do not make your injury too severe, because then they will have the need to take you to a doctor, and the doctor will know whether it is real or fake.
  • If you don't follow through and make sure your dates work, all your hard work will not count for anything, and people might not believe you if and when you do get hurt.
  • If you draw on yourself with the pen, don't break the skin or press too hard. This may cause ink/blood poisoning from the pen, which is very serious.
  • If you are an athlete, it's best not to fake an injury to the certified athletic trainer. We always know when you do and we might not listen the next time you really need us.
  • Don't be surprised if one day you notice an unmarked van following you as you go about your daily activities. Many insurance companies have taken to shadowing and performing undercover surveillance on people who claim to have injuries when they really don't. Your best bet is not to fake an injury.
  • Do not see a doctor because they won't help it.

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Categories: Feigning Illness