The 10 Most Absurd ICD-10 codes for PT



After much debate, delay and controversy, it appears as though the long awaited (and feared) switch from ICD-9 to ICD-10 finally came.  With the addition of approximately 55,000 codes, there is a lot to think about.

With my book “The Truth About ICD-10” (which you can get for free here – just pay $9.95 shipping and handling), I discussed in-depth how to be prepared on  the way we treat, document and bill our patient visits.

Many of the changes on the system have been very much needed, and some reasons for additional codes are absolutely logical.

But, there are some coding changes and expansions that are … “less than necessary” to the day-to-day documentation of a physical therapist.

Here are the top ten:

10. W2202XA Hurt walking into a lamppost

Suggested therapeutic exercise: put one cone in the middle of the floor. Have patient stand ten feet from cone. Instruct patient to walk in general direction of cone. Avoid cone. Repeat.

…And if you’re wondering, yes – there are additional codes for this. W22.02XD (Subsequent encounter) and W22.02XS (Walked into lamppost, sequela).

9. V96.00XS unspecified balloon accident injuring occupant, sequela

It’s not often that we find ourselves treating patients with chronic ballooning injuries. However, if you find yourself treating a balloon enthusiast that just can’t seem to get the hang of it, this is the code you’ll be using.

8. W6112XA Struck by macaw

Macaws are beautiful birds originating in Central and South American forests and rain forests, many species of which are now endangered or extinct in the wild. Unless your patient had a friend or family member physically pick up one of the few legally traded species of macaw and throw it at them, the odds of this code ending up on your Initial Eval are pretty slim.

7. V94810 Civilian watercraft involved in water transport accident with military watercraft

Are you the on-site physical therapist for the filming of the next Lethal Weapon movie? If not, I don’t suggest memorizing this one.

6. V9542XA Spacecraft crash injuring occupant

…And if your patient no-shows for a follow up appointment, you can always have Scotty lock onto them with the transporter and beam them into your treatment room. Energize.

5. Y34 Unspecified event, undetermined intent

For those patients who just aren’t the talkative types. Imagine the CPTs you can assign to this one.

4. Y92.72 Injured in a chicken coop

ICD-10 is awfully location-specific, and this is just one example. There’s even a different code for being injured at the opera (which seems even less likely than a chicken coop). As for this one – if your patient doesn’t list farmer as their occupation, it may be wise not to ask why this code came up.

3. V97.33XD Sucked into jet engine, subsequent encounter.

jet engineYour patient may need to be referred to a government laboratory to figure out how he or she survived the first
incident. If you find yourself treating the Six Million Dollar Man, this will be your code. Also, suggest he be more careful… you know… around jet engines.

2. Y93.D Activities involved arts and handcrafts.

It’s a story as old as time. Patient spends the day making popcorn necklaces for the neighborhood, and then accidentally stabs themselves with the needle (or maybe an un-popped kernel is flung into their eye). You’ve heard the tale a thousand times, right? Of course. Let’s just hope they don’t come up with a popcorn code. That would just be confusing.

And #1, the recently famed, W56.22xA Struck by orca, initial encounter.

Yes. Orca. And yes, Initial encounter. If your patient somehow happens to find themselves in on-going orca-related harm, W56.22XD (struck by orca, subsequent encounter) and W56.22XS (struck by orca, sequela) would be the way to go for proper documentation (e.g. In Touch EMR and In Touch Biller Pro}

Everyone’s worried about ICD-10. It’s the biggest challenge AND the biggest opportunity in physical therapy business. That’s why you can get a copy of my book “The Truth About ICD-10 – 10 Ways to Prepare for ICD-10” at


I want to share it with you. All you pay is a $9.95 shipping and handling fee.


This book was made available on Amazon, but you can get the book at NO CHARGE – just pay a small shipping and handling fee.

This book is ideal for front desk staff, clinicians, physical therapy business practice owners and billing staff for all private practices throughout the country. It is a short but definitive guide to help your practice prepare for ICD-10.

I’m doing this so EVERYONE can prepare for ICD-10.

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I have put together a webinar series unlike anything you have every seen for ICD-10. This includes detailed ICD-10 training with downloadable templates and handouts to help you prepare for ICD-10.









P.S. Don’t worry about ICD-10 – I have you covered. I have demystified ICD-10 and made it easy to understand for every staff member in your practice. Go ahead and get your copy now.

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