What Is A FOOSH Injury? Treatment & Prevention

If peradventure, you lose balance and fall you may suffer from Colles’ fracture. Doctors and physiotherapists call this form of fracture a FOOSH Injury.

What is A FOOSH Injury?

FOOSH is an acronym for an injury that is caused by a person having “falling onto an outstretched hand. A Foosh injury is a common occurence and often leads to Colles’ fracture. A fracture of the distal inch of the radius as well as ulna next to the wrist.

foosh injury

Depending on how severe FOOSH injuries are, they vary greatly on numerous factors; which includes:

  • the type of ground you fell on
  • the manner in which you have fallen
  • the force of your impact with the floor/ground
  • If you have any old injuries affecting your wrists and hands.

In severe cases, FOOSH may result in broken bones and you find yourself in the hospital while some take few weeks to heal with stretching and rest.

What Are The Causes Of Foosh Injuries

People who participate in sporting activities where falls are common, like football, skiing, cycling, and downhill mountain biking, often suffer fronm FOOSH injuries. Anybody can get a FOOSH injury if mistakenly they fall on a hard surface. The falls can be as  a result of

  1. Incorrect footwear can lead to falls
  2. Poor vision
  3. Taking Medicines that can lead to drowsiness
  4. A lack of balance or coordination.

In any instance in which you have fallen on your wrist, hand, or arm; to avoid severe conditions afterward we advise that you;

  1. To visit your local emergency department or doctor: Your doctor may likely run a series of tests for clinical examination to know which area is affected. Your doctor may also carry out an X-ray of your wrist, hand and shoulder to check for anatomy to know if there’s a broken bone.
  2. Consult your physiotherapist for further checks.

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What Are The Common Types of FOOSH Injuries

There different types of FOOSH injuries that can affect different body parts. These typically involve your hand and wrist, however, you may also injure your shoulder and elbow too. Common injuries are:

  1. Radial or ulnar styloid fracture

The Ulnar styloid is a bony projection on the pinkie-side of your wrist, while the radial-styloid is a projection of bone on the thumb-side on the wrist. A FOOSH injury can fracture these bones when impacted. Only pains are present in this form of injury and no signs of bruising or swelling.

We advise you to treat styloid fractures as soon as possible to avoid complications. Complications can lead to severity, which will require expensive treatment method.

  1. Scaphoid fracture

Scaphoid fracture occurs when one of the 8 small bones that make up the wrist is broken. A scaphoid fracture is one of the most common FOOSH injury. It carries symptoms of swelling with pain, or pain without swelling or perhaps bruising on one side of the thumb. The pain will arise just few days of fall.

Complications of Scaphoid fracture may include bone loss, poor circulation of blood into your bones, and arthritis. Consult your doctor immediately once you notice pain on your thumb.

The treatment for Scaphoid fracture depends on the severity. Less severe form may be treated by wearing cast, severe form may require surgery.

  1. Distal radius fracture

Distal radius fracture, including Smith and Collens’ fractures are common FOOSH injuries that affect the wrist. Usually, this type of fracture causes dislocation, swelling, extreme pain, and bruising along your radius. If you have Distal radius fracture, whenever you try to move your wrist you will feel pain.

If you have less severe form your doctor will straighten your bones to fix into its proper position, and thereby may recommend you put on a light cast or a splint. Surgical treatment methods are usually performed on the severe form.

  1. Radial head fracture

It is at the top of the radius bone, just below your elbow. A lot of people initially feel this injury as the elbow and wrist pain. It’s difficult to move and hurt so much. If in any situation after a fall and you are not able to move your elbow, it’s a good sign of possible Radial head fracture. It’s doesn’t always show up on X-rays.

Treatment options involving ice and resting with either a splint or a sling, then followed by physical therapy.

  1. Scapholunate tear

The Scapholunate is a ligament in the wrist. Most people mistake this form of FOOSH injury for a sprain because it usually has no physical deformities and causes pain. The injury does not heal on its own and continues to cause pain over time, unlike a sprain.

If not treated, Scapholunate tear can result in a type of wrist condition known as Scapholunate Advanced Collapse (SLAC).

Treatment includes surgical treatment followed by physical therapy. Even with surgery, Scapholunate tear doesn’t always heal correctly.

foosh injury

  1. Synovitis

Synovitis is described as a joint in which 2 bones connect at a cartilage-lined cavity that’s filled with a fluid known as Synovial fluid. They are usually painful, associated with abnormal swelling.

Synovitis is seen as a FOOSH injury; it may also be caused by underlying autoimmune disorders or arthritis.

Synovitis may be associated with infection which can cause severe pains and swelling. Some tests and physical examinations may be conducted by your doctor if there’s no infection. However, usual treatments are splinting the joint and making use of anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce swelling.

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  1. Cellulitis

This is a kind of skin infection that takes place at the spot of the FOOSH injuries. Studies suggest that Cellulitis affects people who have weak immune systems, older or have a contaminated wounded that is resulted from falling down. In this type of condition, doctors will mostly prescribe antibiotics to deal with the infection.

Other common types of FOOSH injuries are Collarbone or shoulder injury and bruise.

How do we Diagnose FOOSH injuries?

A FOOSH Injury is usually diagnosed by physical examination. Physical examination is a procedure by which a doctor will assess your range of motion. Also, doctors make use of imaging tests such as MRIs, X-rays or CT Scans.

How do we treat A FOOSH injury & Recovery?

Treatment is immobilization in a splinting substance like Plaster of Paris for 5-6 weeks to allow proper healing of the bony fragments; this is followed by a variable period of rehabilitation, which is dependent on how severe the fracture is.

The plaster is kept to a minimum so as to enable fast restoration of normal hand use. However, a wrist splint or cast can be used for a week or more, especially in scenarios where there’s acute pain on activity.

As soon as the plaster is taken off, your physiotherapist will have to examine the wrist for proper healing. The impacted person’s hand should have no tightness or swell in the fingers; motion should be free, no pains, and have a natural color. If any problem is seen, your physiotherapist will take urgent steps to rehabilitate the person.

foosh injury

A variety of motion exercises are the first thing a physiotherapist carried in the treatment of an impacted person. The physiotherapist teaches you exercise performance in every 2 hours. Lots of Colles’ fractures do well just with regular range of movement exercise practices, and thereby might not need any sophisticated treatments.

Some FOOSH injury requires medical treatments, while some require only home remedies.

Home Remedies

The best home remedy for treating a mild FOOSH injury is ice and then resting. Applying ice to the affected area and taking anti-inflammatory medication can help manage pain and swelling.

How Can We Prevent A FOOSH Injury

You can prevent FOOSH injuries in some many ways. If you are an athlete, you can avoid this condition by wearing protective gear anytime you want to take part in your sporting activities.

In your everyday life, be cautious about your surroundings. At home wear correct footwear to prevent tripping and slipping.

If you take medication that might cause drowsiness or if you have an eye problem, take precautions while walking, rest, or get your eye treated.

Also Read: How To Make Yourself Fart To Relieve Gas

When can I see a doctor if I have A FOOSH injury?

Consult your doctor if you are experiencing severe pain in your wrist, hand or arm resulting from a fall.

Consistent pain, bruising, swelling, fever, clicking, or a limited range of motion are all indicators that you need to see your doctor. Muscles and bone bruises or pains that don’t seem to go are also more signs that you need to see your doctor.


Falling can cause lots of unforeseen conditions, thereby leading to severe injuries. Some FOOSH injuries only require physical therapy, which can help you recover faster and healthier. Please follow your doctor’s advice when recovering from a FOOSH injury

Source: Vanwye WR, Hoover DL, Willgruber S. Physical Therapist Screening and Differential Diagnosis for Traumatic-onset Elbow Pain: A Case Report. Physiotherapy Theory and Practice. 2016;32(7):556-565. doi: 10.1080/09593985.2016.1219798. Healthline.com


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