Understanding and treating FOOSH injuries from falls

On Behalf of | Jan 1, 2024 | Injuries |

Slipping and falling can land you on any part of your body and cause serious injury and pain. It is possible you could try to stop yourself from hitting the ground but instead land on your arm. This may result in a FOOSH injury.

FOOSH is a nickname encompassing different injuries that occur if you fall onto an outstretched hand. These injuries range from mild bruising to severe fractures requiring surgery. Knowing how to recognize and treat a FOOSH injury can help you properly heal.

Examples of FOOSH injuries

Common FOOSH fractures include breaks in the wrist bones and ligament tears. Dislocated or separated shoulder joints sometimes result from an upper-body impact. Also, nerve compression from swelling or fractured bone fragments may cause numbness in the hand.

Signs of a FOOSH injury

You might tell if you have injuries in your hand or wrist if you experience pain, swelling, bruising, numbness or tingling in the fingers. You could also suffer from a limited range of motion in the wrist or elbow.

The severity of your injury depends on factors like the force of impact, your age, your existing state of health and the type of surface you fall on. Also, elderly people are at higher risk for severe FOOSH injuries due to weaker bones.

Treatment of a FOOSH injury

X-rays, CT scans and MRIs should diagnose your current condition. Doctors will check for proper bone alignment, chip fractures, tissue and ligament damage. Treatments include splinting, casting, surgery, medication and physical therapy. Surgery often involves re-aligning and securing broken bones with rods, pins or bone grafts. Severe cases may require multiple procedures over weeks or months.

At-home care initially involves rest, ice, compression and elevation. Once stabilized, gentle exercises may prevent stiffness. Recovery times vary from weeks to months depending on the damage. Complete healing and restoration of function could take over a year for some injuries.

The National Floor Safety Institute explains that as many as a million people a year go to the emergency room for a slip-and-fall injury. Still, while not all falls require hospitalization, they sometimes require medical treatment and at-home care to result in a full recovery. Following the orders of a physician for protection, medication, therapy and at-home care can lead to the best outcome.