Background: This study documents the number, incidence, and relative risk (RR) of distal forearm fractures requiring admission to hospital in Australia in 1997 and estimates of the projected numbers for 2021.
Methods: Distal forearm fracture numbers from 1993 to 1998 were obtained. The incidence and RR were calculated by gender and 5-year age groups for 1997. Projected numbers for 2021 were estimated using population projection data.
Results: In 1997, fracture numbers were 12357 for male patients and 19319 for female patients. The incidence was 152 per 100000 for male patients and 157 per 100000 for female patients. The highest incidence and RR was in the 10- to 14-year age group for male patients and in the 85 years and over age group for female patients. If fracture incidence remains constant (on the basis of predicted population changes in Australia), by 2021, it is estimated that fracture numbers for people 50 years of age and over will increase by 81%, compared with 11% for people under 50. In the older age group, the number for women will be 4.7 times higher than for men.
Conclusion: This study quantifies the potential disproportionate increase in distal forearm fractures requiring admission in Australia, particularly for female patients, because of an aging population.