A FOOSH injury is the second most common ski and snowboarding injury. A FOOSH injury can occur any day, any time (falling, cycling fall, etc), but is common on the ski hill this time of year, especially for all the beginners out there!
What is it?
A “Fall On the OutStretched Hand”, or FOOSH injury, is group of injuries termed by its mechanism of injury. There are a series of different injuries that may result from a fall on the outstretched hand, including wrist fractures/ligament strains, muscle sprains, elbow hyperextension injuries, shoulder dislocations, AC joint separations,compression wrist fractures, finger hyperextension injury and others! 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.
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.
Have You Experienced a FOOSH Injury?
If you experienced a Fall On the OutStretched Hand, give us a call. One of our experienced physiotherapists will assess you to develop an appropriate treatment plan.