The epidemiology of fractures of the scaphoid: IMPACT OF AGE, GENDER, DEPRIVATION AND SEASONALITY

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This study explores the epidemiology of patients with a fracture of the scaphoid presenting to a regional teaching hospital.

Patients and Methods

All patients with a confirmed fracture of the scaphoid over a retrospective period between January 2010 and May 2013 were included. Their demographics, deprivation status and when the fracture occurred was noted and assessed. There were 415 fractures in 365 males and 50 females.


The incidence of fracture of the scaphoid was 12.4 in 100 000 each year in the general population. The mean age of the patients was 22 years (nine to 35); the highest incidence was in males aged between 15 and 19 years. We calculate the annual incidence in the United Kingdom to be 7265 each year. Patients with the lowest socioeconomic status had an incidence of 18.57 in 100 000 whereas the least deprived patients had an incidence of 9.98 (p < 0.001). There was evidence of a seasonal trend (p = 0.022) with the highest monthly rate found in June (16.96 in 100 000 each year) and the lowest was in December (7.61 in 100 000 each year). There were significantly fewer presentations of fracture at the weekend (p < 0.001), and the highest incidence was on Mondays. Most fractures occurred at the waist (64%) and tubercle (18.1%).


Take home message: In this large-scale epidemiological study, we confirmed that young men are most at risk of sustaining a fracture of the scaphoid, and report new factors in relation to social deprivation and seasonality that influence scaphoid fractures.

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