Objective: To collect data on sporting and recreational injuries presenting to a general practice clinic in metropolitan Melbourne, to gain better knowledge about the range of these injuries commonly seen in general practice and in the community.
Method: A survey was conducted for four, 2 week periods, at 3 monthly intervals, over approximately 1 year, at a general practice clinic in metropolitan Melbourne. All patients who presented with a new sporting or recreational injury were asked to complete a questionnaire, seeking information on the nature, circumstances, risk factors and severity of their injury, as well as why they had chosen to present to a general practice clinic, in preference to a hospital emergency department. It was completed by both the patient and the treating doctor.
Results: The main findings of the survey were that patients who presented to the clinic with a sporting or recreational injury were most likely to be male and in their twenties. The most common sports that had been played prior to injury were Australian rules football, soccer and hockey. The majority of injuries were relatively mild, with sprains and bruises accounting for 78% of injuries, while 89% of patients required conservative forms of treatment. The ankle, fingers and knee were the most common body parts affected.
Conclusion: Data from general practice provides important information about the epidemiology of sporting and recreational injuries in the community.