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They occur due to shear and friction forces or blunt trauma causing the epidermis to separate from the dermis or both to separate from underlying structures, and commonly occur on extremities ( R. Ellis et al 2015).

Skin tears are associated with falls, poor handling, and equipment injuries. They are common in the elderly because of thinning skin, flattened ridges, loss of natural skin lubrication and increased capillary fragility (Benbow, 2009. R. Ellis et al 2015).

There tends to be a change in the deposition of subcutaneous tissue in specific areas such as the face, dorsal aspect of the hand and skins (Benbow, 2009, Le Blanc 2018).

There are a variety of causes of skin tears:

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Age Manual handling
Medication – poly pharma Mechanical trauma – shear/ fiction / blunt
Co-morbidities Inadequate skin care
Mobility Physical environment
Poor hydration/ nutrition Inappropriate clothing
Dry/ fragile skin Medical adhesives
History of falls

(Ousey, 2009,Stephen-Hayes 2017, Idensohn 2019)