Self-Reported Musculoskeletal Injuries

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Lead Author(s): 

Andrew N. Pollak, MD

Supporting Author(s): 

Sylvia I. Watkins-Castillo, PhD

In 2012, 8.86 million persons reported seeking medical care for an injury during the prior three months. The number of self-reported injuries, even when extrapolated out to a full year, is much lower than the number of health care visits to physicians, emergency departments, outpatient clinics, and hospitals reported over the course of a year, suggesting that self-reported injuries are underreported. However, the proportion of these injuries that were musculoskeletal was similar to that reported by the national health care databases for injury-related health care visits, 72% and 77%, respectively. In addition, self-reported injuries reflected the distribution by demographic characteristics (i.e., sex, age, and race) in the same proportion as found in the general population and among health care visits in the national databases, confirming that musculoskeletal injuries occur to all people.
(Reference Table 6A.1.1.1 PDF CSV)
Percent of Total Unintentional Injury Deaths Due to Falls by Age, United States 2011
The type of self-reported injury reported varied somewhat by demographic group, particularly with respect to sex and age. Overall, the most common type of musculoskeletal injury for which medical attention was sought was a sprain or strain. This was particularly true for persons aged 65 to 74 years, and for females. People age 75 years and older were most likely to report a contusion, but this age group also reported higher proportions of fractures than other ages. Open wounds requiring medical attention were more likely to be reported by males and people 18 to 44 years than by other demographic groups. Sprains and strains as well as fractures were the most common musculoskeletal injury type reported for children ages 0 to 17 years; overall, children had a lower proportion of musculoskeletal injuries for which medical attention was sought than did other age groups. (Reference Table 6A.1.1.1 PDF CSV)
Self-Reported Injuries for Which Medical Attention Was Sought by Type by Age, United States 2012
Injuries to the knee were the most common, accounting for 10% of all musculoskeletal injuries for which medical attention was sought. Knee injuries were slightly more likely to occur to young and middle age adults (18 to 64 years) than to children and older persons. Injuries to the back were the second most common injury for which medical attention was sought. People age 18 to 44 years were most likely to have a back injury, while children rarely reported injuries to the back. Children were most likely to have an ankle injury that required medical attention. About 40% of persons reported an injury in multiple anatomic sites that required medical attention. (Reference Table 6A.1.1.2 PDF CSV)


  • 2014

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