Great Medical Practice: Preventing and Treating a Painful FOOSH Injury – Premier Orthopaedics in West Chester
You may not know what FOOSH is, but odds are, you know someone who has suffered from it. FOOSH is an acronym for falling on an outstretched hand, and it’s one of the most common types of orthopaedic injuries. Slipping on ice, falling while playing a sport; FOOSH injuries happen to people of all ages and range in severity. No matter how painful the injury is in your hand, wrist, shoulder or elbow, it’s important to get it checked out, say the doctors at Premier Orthopaedics. They have extensive expertise and offer a wide range of treatments options to effectively treat all types of FOOSH injuries.
What are FOOSH injuries?
FOOSH injuries vary in body parts and severity. They include:
- Wrist sprains: Injuries to ligaments that hold the bones together at the joint
- Distal radius fractures: The most common, also known as broken wrists
- Scaphoid fractures: Relatively common breaks in small bones of the wrists
- Fractures of hand bones: Includes carpal and phalange bones
Patients who present with swelling and pain in their hand, wrist, shoulder, or elbow can expect the following steps. First, a general orthopaedist takes an X-ray to identify the severity of the injury. If the fracture is significantly displaced or broken in multiple places, the doctor orders a CAT scan to view the bone fractures in greater detail.
Treatment options differ depending on the severity of the injury. At Premier, John Benner, M.D. treats less-severe – but very common – FOOSH injuries. “If I see a fracture that doesn’t need to be operated on, the primary thing is I use is a fiberglass cast or a removable cast that we make here in the office,” he says.
Richard Ziegler, M.D. adds that, like most general orthopaedists, he has extensive experience treating FOOSH injuries. However, he refers patients with complex hand injuries to a hand and upper extremity specialist – like Premier’s Rowan Michael, M.D. “With some fractures, I know that, if it heals the way it is, the patient is not going to have a good outcome,” Ziegler explains. “Then, I’ll refer the patient to the hand specialist to do the surgery that’s required. The majority of people with these kinds of injuries don’t require the expertise of a hand specialist but it’s nice to know that that kind of backup is available to us at Premier.”
Michael operates on patients with more serious injuries. “For more complex fractures, or when the injury extends into the joint, they’ll send the patient to me,” he says.
Recovery periods vary depending on the complexity of the injury and treatment method. “Even simple wrist sprains seem to take a little while to fully improve because it’s hard not to use your wrist for daily activities,” Michael says. Wrist sprains can take anywhere from four weeks to a couple of months to heal, while more serious injuries like distal radius fractures can take close to three months to fully recover. Scaphoid fractures can take even longer than that.
What happens if you leave a FOOSH injury untreated?
The doctors at Premier Orthopaedics encourage anyone experiencing pain from a fall to be evaluated and learn about their range of treatment options. “I would encourage people that when they have a fall and they’re having pain or swelling to get it checked out,” Ziegler says. “Unfortunately, we do see instances when people assume it’s just a sprain and they don’t get evaluated, and sometimes they come to us weeks or even a month or two down the road where our treatment options are limited.”
Receiving early treatment helps avoid future issues. “If you don’t treat those fractures that are displaced or the ones that don’t heal very well, it leads to all sorts of consequences,” Michael says. “Most of them involve some pattern of arthritis in the wrist that develops over time. Then, you lose range of motion, you lose grip strength, and you often have persistent pain and swelling.”
Why choose Premier Orthopaedics to treat your FOOSH injury?
The doctors at Premier Orthopaedics know that FOOSH injuries need to be evaluated and treated quickly. “We’re very aware that when a fracture occurs, we should see a patient within a day or two,” Benner says. From general orthopaedists with extensive experience treating the common FOOSH injuries to specialized upper extremity surgeons, Premier offers the necessary range of treatments for all types of FOOSH injuries.
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