FOOSH: The Most Common Hand Injuries Seen in the ER

FOOSH Injury

During my time in the emergency department, I have seen a lot of injuries. One of the most common is the FOOSH. It seems to be getting more common the longer I am in practice. FOOSH injuries should be examined as soon as possible by a physician since there are long term implications from the injury if left untreated.

What are FOOSH Injuries You Ask?

FOOSH is an acronym for fall on an outstretched hand. This really describes the mechanism of injury. The injury can involve anything that includes the hand, wrist, elbow or shoulder.

One common type of Foosh injury is the Colle’s fracture of the wrist.. This type of injury involves a break of the radius bone in the distal forearm. Because of its proximity to the wrist joint, this injury is often called a wrist fracture. Most patients will present with localized pain. Sometimes there is a deformity in the wrist with swelling. You can also get numbness to the hand and this will indicate an injury to the median nerve. This is called Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Thereby, any wrist deformity will limit motion of the fingers.

So, a person that has swelling, tenderness and loss of wrist motion, could have wrist fracture. Many young people may suffer this type of injury if they fall from a height or are involved in motor vehicle crash. Skateboarding, Rollerblading, running and skiing are some typical activities that can cause this injury.

Examination should rule out a skin wound that might indicate an open fracture. It is also imperative to check for loss of sensation and circulation to the hand, wrist, elbow, and shoulder.

It may be evident that someone has a Foosh injury based on the deformity of the wrist, but diagnosis should be confirmed by x-ray. Sometimes fractures may not be seen on plain x-rays and a CT-Scan may have to be ordered instead. One must maintain a high suspicion for fracture if the mechanism is there.

Treating FOOSH Hand Injuries

Treatment may involve a simple ace wrap., but it could also involve surgery with months of physical therapy. The answer lies in the fact of how much damage and how severe the injury. The key is prevention. For example, If you know that you are going to be rollerblading, you should wear protective gear to minimize injury such as wrist braces and elbow pads. FOOSH injuries are more common than you would expect and immediate care can limit long term damage.

Anyone can suffer a Foosh injury. If you fall and you think you have one, don’t hesitate to go to your local Advance ER emergency department. They have a highly trained medical staff with all the necessary x-ray equipment to get you diagnosed and treated in a jiffy!

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