Objectives: To study the epidemiology of foot injuries and factors predicting their severity in a high-income developing country so as to define prevention priorities.
Patients and methods: All patients admitted to Al-Ain Hospital with foot injury between March 2003 and March 2006 were identified from a prospectively collected Trauma Registry. Injuries were scored using foot and ankle severity scale (FASS). Bilateral, multiple or segmental injuries, open fractures or those with FASS score higher than 3 were included in severe foot injury group and compared with simple foot injury group regarding patients' demography, co-morbidities, trauma mechanism and energy, incident location, number of associated injuries, Injury Severity Score (ISS) and hospital stay using a univariate analysis. A logistic regression model was then used to study factors predicting severity of foot injury.
Results: 171 patients (156 males) were studied. The average (range) age was 34 (2-75). 95 had right foot injury, 66 had left, and 10 had both. Fall from height was the most common mechanism. 105 (61%) had work-related injuries. 130 (76%) had isolated foot injury. 151 (88%) had 212 foot fractures. 20 (12%) had soft tissue injuries. 70 (41%) had severe injuries while 101 (59%) had simple ones. The multiple logistic model was highly significant (p=0.002). Number of associated injuries (p=0.025) and location of trauma (p=0.044) were significant while the amount of energy (p=0.054) showed a strong trend to predict severity.
Conclusions: Fall from height is the most common mechanism of foot injury in United Arab Emirates. The number of associated injuries, high-energy trauma, and being work related are predictors of foot injury severity. Prevention priorities include counteractions against falling from height and falling heavy objects as occupational hazards.
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