Ninety-year-old Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe fell on Wednesday after addressing a crowd at Harare Airport.
The incident, witnessed by journalists, reignited concerns about his health, but his spokesman, George Charamba, said the president “just missed a step” while alighting from the podium.
Mugabe had just returned from Addis Ababa, where he had assumed the chairmanship of the African Union.
His aides quickly came to his rescue and escorted him away.
Photo journalists said security guards forced them to delete pictures of Mugabe lying on the floor.
He has ruled Zimbabwe since 1980 and refused to appoint a successor.
Though the government has been denying that the president has serious health challenges, Mugabe has been visiting the far east for medical check-ups.
Mugabe is due to celebrate his 91st birthday at the resort town of Victoria Falls on February 28.
The opposition in Zimbabwe has criticised him for budgeting millions of dollars for a party while failing to revive the country’s ailing economy.