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Ski Injury Spotlight: Fall On OutStretched Hand (FOOSH)

A “Fall On the OutStretched Hand”, or FOOSH injury, is group of injuries termed by its mechanism of injury and occurs with a fall. This type of injury is common on the ski hill, especially with beginners.

What is a FOOSH injury?

A “Fall On the OutStretched Hand”, or FOOSH injury, is group of injuries termed by its mechanism of injury. As the ground contacts an outstretched hand, the force is exerted all the way up to the shoulder joint, which is also commonly injured during a fall on the hills. There are a series of different injuries that may result from a fall on the outstretched hand.

Injuries may include wrist fractures/ligament strains, muscle sprains, elbow hyperextension injuries, shoulder dislocations, AC joint separations,compression wrist fractures, finger hyperextension injury and others! 

Signs & Symptoms

With most FOOSH injuries, some grade or amount of pain, swelling, decreased mobility and decreased strength will be experienced. If a fracture is present, global swelling, high amounts of pain and difficulties moving the joint will be common. Be sure to see a physician or physiotherapist to clear for a fracture.

What to do about it?

After a fall onto the hand, ensure to protect the joints affected AND GET HELP! This includes RICE therapy. A brace can be worn to place the joint in neutral and protect it from further irritation. If the shoulder is involved, wearing a sling recommended from the physician or physiotherapist can help to protect the joint as it heals.

How to prevent FOOSH injuries?

Since it is a natural reflex to stretch our arms out to break a fall, the wrist/hand/elbow are generally at a high risk of injury on ski hills. If you are a new skier/snowboarders, or have fallen in the past, wear a brace to protect the joints (rollerblading wrist guards work great under bulky mitts!) and be mindful of your skill level. Since falling generally occurs in high volume areas and on higher caliber ski hills, stay safe, keep your distance from others, and ski/snowboard to your abilities.

Experienced a FOOSH injury?

Give us a call and book an appointment with one of our experienced physiotherapists.

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Welcome to the Nepean Sports Medicine & Physiotherapy Centre blog, where we provide lots of helpful tips, news, information and advice about physiotherapy and massage treatments, as well as general health and wellness, in Nepean and Ottawa.

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