-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas
WEDNESDAY, Aug. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Although not
life-threatening, sprains and strains account for more than
one-third of lower leg injuries treated in U.S. emergency
departments, according to a new study.
Alternative approaches to treatment, such as an emergency
hotline or scheduled doctor appointments, would spare valuable time
and emergency department resources, researchers from Massachusetts
General Hospital in Boston, said in the report, recently published
Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research.
"Relatively low-severity lower extremity problems such as strains and sprains account for a substantial number of emergency department visits. Different approaches to triage and evaluation of lower extremity injury might result in better utilization of emergency health care resources," study author Kaj Lambers and colleagues wrote in a journal news release.
For the study, the researchers examined information on 119,815
patients with lower leg and ankle injuries in 2009 from the
National Electronic Injury Surveillance System.
The study revealed that strains and sprains accounted for 36
percent of all lower extremity injuries treated in emergency rooms.
Analyzing trends over a 10-year period, the investigators found
that sprained ankles topped the list as the most common injury
among young adults and teens, who were also more likely to suffer
foot bruises, cuts or strains.
Older patients were more commonly diagnosed with lower trunk
bruises and abrasions as well as lower trunk fractures, including
the hip, pelvis and lumbar vertebrae.
Calling an emergency phone number to schedule an urgent visit
with a doctor or scheduling an appointment during regular business
hours could be a possible cost-saving alternative for patients with
ankle injuries, the researchers said in the news release.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine provides more information
ankle injuries and disorders.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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