My neighbor recently had a FOOSH walking on an icy sidewalk, and when she told me she broke her wrist, I was curious about the acronym. Exactly what does a FOOSH mean, and what type of injury occurred?
A FOOSH means a “fall on the outstretched hand,” and the most common injury is a distal radius fracture. This type of fracture involves the end of one of the two long bones in the forearm (see photo). These injuries are more common in females in old age (over 65) due to the higher incidence of osteoporosis.
The advent of the hoverboard has rapidly increased the incidence of wrist fractures in a young person. In fact, hoverboard injuries have increased so rapidly, that the Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued a warning to users about fall risks. Please watch this brief video to learn more about these injuries and to be aware of precautions if you’re planning to attempt use of these products.
Evaluation by a hand surgeon is advised so a proper cast can be applied. Also, keep in mind that depending on the nature of the fracture, surgery may be indicated. Pain, stiffness and swelling are frequently present with this type of injury, so please ask your surgeon to refer you to a certified hand therapist (CHT). A CHT can facilitate regaining range of motion, function and strength of your injured hand/wrist. You may need to be in a custom fit orthosis similar to the one shown in the image below.
All of that sounds complicated, so how can I find a certified hand therapist in my area?
There is a handy search directory on the ASHT website. Simply visit https://www.asht.org/find-a-therapist.
Heidi Hermann Wright, DHS, MBA, OTR, CHT is a Certified Hand Therapist and a member of the American Society of Hand Therapists (ASHT).