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Most Arm Injuries Are FOOSH Injuries. How to Fall More Safely.

Most injuries to the arm are FOOSH injuries.(1) FOOSH stands for Fall On Outstretched Hand. As people fall, they tend to throw their hands out to catch themselves

Many FOOSH injuries occur around the wrist, and some involve the hand. Fractures to the small bones, sprains, and strains are common. The good news is that many of these injuries are probably preventable with a little bit of know-how.

A systematic review published recently in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, finds that safe falling techniques can lower the energy of falls by 40% to 60%. Here’s a summary of those techniques:

  • Keep your knees and arms bent.
  • Protect your head. If falling backwards, tuck your chin to your chest.
  • Land on the meat. Try to land on big muscles. Avoid landing on bones such as your elbows, knees, tailbone, hips, or wrists.
  • Keep falling. Your instinct may be to stop the fall as quickly as possible. You may reduce the energy of the fall more if you allow yourself to roll with the energy, only trying to stop when the energy is more dissipated. Picture the roll of a martial artist being thrown.

If you suffer a FOOSH injury, start with PRICE: Protection, Rest, Ice, and Elevation. For anything other than minor bruising, seek healthcare. Rehabilitation can go a long way toward properly restoring strength, range of motion, and neuromuscular control.

Prevention of course is better than cure here. It is possible to prevent many falls simply by an exercise program targeting your strength and balance. These programs are offered at Advanced Physio, by our exercise physiologists Matt Kent, and Nicole Kent.


  1. Wilson AJ. Radiology of Hand and Wrist Injuries. InMusculoskeletal Diseases 2005 (pp. 13-16). Springer, Milano.
  2. Moon Y, Sosnoff JJ. Safe landing strategies during a fall: systematic review and meta-analysis. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. 2017 Apr 1;98(4):783-94.


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