During trips and falls, many New York residents extend their arms to protect themselves. This instinctive reaction can lead to injuries from FOOSH, which is an acronym for a “fall onto an outstretched hand.”
Common FOOSH injuries
FOOSH injuries typically involve the hand, wrist, forearm, elbow, upper arm or shoulder. They can happen to people of any age, but older adults and adults who play contact sports are at elevated risk.
Some of the most common FOOSH injuries include:
- Colles’ fracture, which occurs when a bone in the wrist or forearm breaks outwards or backwards
- Boxer’s fracture, which is a break in the small bones of the hand
- Smith fracture, which happens when someone falls onto a flexed wrist
- Elbow fracture
- Shoulder fracture
- Humerus fracture
- Collarbone fracture
- Elbow dislocation
- Shoulder dislocation
- Sprain to wrist or elbow
Treatment and prevention of FOOSH injuries
People who suffer FOOSH-related injuries should seek treatment from their health care provider. Individuals with mild injuries may need to wear a cast or a sling for several weeks, while those with moderate or severe injuries could require surgery. Many FOOSH patients need physical therapy to help them regain range of motion, strength and functional mobility.
Older adults can prevent FOOSH injuries by keeping their home free from clutter, performing basic strength and balance exercises and installing grab bars in their bathroom to reduce the risk of falls. Athletes can avoid FOOSH injuries by wearing protective gear and knowing their physical limits.