Broken a Fall with Your Hand? How to Prevent a FOOSH Injury

Broken a Fall with Your Hand? How to Prevent a FOOSH Injury

You’ve had a fall. You’re thankful it wasn’t worse. At least you didn’t break your leg, but your hand took a lot of the impact. The force of the fall reverberated from your hand through your wrist, forearm, and shoulder

Our board-certified orthopedic hand surgeons at Georgia Hand Shoulder & Elbow are the experts you want to see when you have a FOOSH — fall onto an outstretched hand — injury. Common FOOSH injuries include: 

We treat many patients who’ve fallen this way. We work with you to help you recover as quickly and safely as possible, but we also focus on prevention. Your physician provides tips on how to avoid a FOOSH fall. 

FOOSH injuries are understandable. When you lose your balance, you put your hand out to break your fall by instinct. But there are safer ways to fall if you do lose your balance. Following are tips on preventing a FOOSH injury. 

Learn how to fall more safely 

Instead of putting your arm straight out to break your fall, start to go with the fall by bending your knees and elbows. Instead of contorting your muscles and having rigid arms and legs, let your body go limp. If your body is rigid, you’re more likely to fracture a bone. 

Protect your head so that you don’t hit it if you fall backward. Use your arms to shield your face. 

Try to turn on your side so that the impact of the fall is spread across your legs, hips, stomach, and your side — the fleshy parts of you where there’s more fat to cushion the fall.

Exercise to improve your balance

Be sure your exercise routine includes moves that improve your balance. For example, try to stand on one foot with the other knee raised so your thigh is parallel with the floor. Hold for 30 seconds. Work up to that as a goal if you can’t do it when you start. 

Your doctor provides examples of simple exercises like these that you can do at home every day. You want to build up your ankle and leg muscles so they support you well and help prevent falls.

Remove loose rugs and other items that may cause falls

It’s very easy to get up at night and fall over something in your path. Clear away clutter so you don’t trip over that Kleenex box. Likewise, it’s easy to trip on the edge of a rug or have a rug slip when you step on it. Always use a rug pad underneath an area rug so it’s stable and not a falling hazard. 

Install devices to prevent falls

If you don’t have a grab bar in the shower, now is the time to install one. Always place a rubber mat in the shower so your feet don’t slip in the tub. 

Wear the right shoes

You may love flip flops, but they don’t provide the stability you need if you want to avoid an unnecessary fall. Choose footwear that provides support. 

Always wear appropriate footwear when playing sports. Purchase court shoes if you’re playing racquetball or tennis, and wear running shoes if you’re a runner. 

Treatment of FOOSH injuries

If you suffer a FOOSH injury, take some preventive steps until you’re able to be seen by a medical professional. Use the RICE method: rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Call our office so we can fit you in promptly. 

We use imaging tests and physical movement tests to diagnose your injury and prescribe appropriate treatment, whether it’s a strain, sprain, fracture, or something else. You may need physical therapy to help you regain range of motion once the initial inflammation has subsided. If you need surgery, your doctor explains your diagnosis and how the surgery is going to help you heal properly. 

Call or book an appointment online with Georgia Hand, Shoulder & Elbow today if you have a FOOSH injury and for all of your musculoskeletal needs. We have offices in Marietta and Atlanta, Georgia.

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