15 Sat

Snow, Ice, Falls… and a FOOSH?

What’s a FOOSH?

Written by: Paul Kochoa, PT, DPT, OCS, CKTP, CGFI


Snow, ice, slips, falls… These terms go hand in hand.  With cold, foul weather, there’s inevitably a rise in a thing called FOOSH.  What’s a FOOSH?  It’s medical shorthand for a Fall On OutStretched Hand.  It’s a common mechanism of injury when someone falls and then reaches out with their arm, it usually results in injuries to the arm, shoulder, elbow, or wrist.

Even though a fall can cause injury to any joint of the arm, most commonly it results in a wrist or forearm fracture, with the most common bone involved being the radius.  The radius is one of the bones of the forearm, it starts skinny on the outside of the elbow and then widens to be the prime weight bearing bone at the wrist.  Symptoms may include: swelling, tenderness, bruising, difficulty moving the hand or wrist, weakness, or a bone deformity.

Immediately after a fall, one should take inventory and try and assess any injuries without a lot of moving around.  Emergent care should be started with possible x-rays to assess the severity of a possible fracture, ice, and splinting if necessary.  Once acute pain and swelling have subsided, physical therapy can help in the recovery process.  It can take 6 weeks or longer for fracture to heal, so listen to your physician’s instruction in terms of splint or cast wearing.

After an injury due to a FOOSH, you could experience stiffness, pain, weakness, and some swelling.  Initially, pain control measures should be taken, but once cleared by the physician, gentle stretching and movement can begin.  Treatment can include soft tissue mobilization, Graston technique, and taping.   Physical therapy can address all the above problems and work to get your arm and wrist functional and ready to take on the next snowstorm.

If you would like more information, please call Professional Physical Therapy and Training at 973-270-7417.  Our offices are located within the YMCA locations in Madison and Summit, NJ.  You do not need to be a member of the YMCA to visit with us.

Image courtesy of fotographic1980 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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