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Can FOOSH injuries result in bone nonunion?

Doctors use the acronym “FOOSH” to refer to a fall onto an outstretched hand, as well as injuries that result from it. FOOSH injuries may include bone fractures, many of which heal on their own with conservative treatment, but bone nonunion is a possible complication.

When the body is not able to heal a fracture, it results in bone nonunion. The body can usually heal bones pretty effectively, but certain risk factors can increase the risk of nonunion.

What types of fractures can result from FOOSH?

According to WebMD, bone fractures from FOOSH typically affect the upper extremity. Fractures or dislocations of the shoulder or elbow are possible, while fractures of the hand or wrist are more likely.

A FOOSH injury can result in a characteristic fracture pattern. For example, a Colles’ fracture causes a backward-bending position of a bone in the forearm.

When can a FOOSH injury result in a nonunion?

According to StatPearls, bone nonunion has several possible causes:

  • Open Fracture: Part of a bone fragment protrudes through the skin
  • Comminution:  The bone breaks into many pieces
  • Poor Blood Supply: The bone does not get the resources it needs to heal

Poor blood supply may be due to an underlying medical condition that restricts circulation, such as diabetes. Medications, such as NSAIDs or steroids, can interfere with blood flow. Poor living habits, such as smoking, can also cause circulation problems that contribute to bone nonunion.

Sometimes multiple factors contribute to bone nonunion. Properly treating nonunion depends on a doctor’s ability to discover the cause or causes.


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