Impact of COVID-19 on fracture rates

June 12, 2020

Fractures are a fact of life for many children, but the COVID-19 pandemic has altered the activities of many children. A new report investigates the impact of the pandemic on the incidence of fractures.

Summer is almost here and that would typically mean children running around playgrounds, playing sports, and some fractures. Unfortunately, this year has been anything but typical and a new report in Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics looks at the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on how many children are getting fractures.1

The investigators compared acute fractures from a single level I pediatric trauma hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic, from March 15, 2020, to April 15, 2020, and then compared it to 2 cohorts from the same time in 2018 and 2019 in the same hospital. A total of 1745 patients who had acute fractures were included in the study.

Overall, there was a significant decrease in the incidence of fractures that presented to the hospital during the pandemic, with 22.5±9.1 per day in the prepandemic period and 9.6±5.1 per day during the pandemic. A decrease in the number of fractures that required surgery was also seen. As would be expected, there was a decrease in fractures linked to sports or playgrounds, but those that occurred at home or because of bicycle riding increased. Children who had a distal radius torus fracture were more likely to be given a Velcro splint during the pandemic.

The researchers concluded that in this institution there had been a 2.5-fold decrease in pediatric fracture volume. As injuries because of bicycles are on the rise, a discussion on basic safety precautions could help improve outcomes.

Reference:

1. Bram J, Johnson M, Magee L et al. Where have all the fractures gone? The epidemiology of pediatric fractures during the COVID-19 pandemic. Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics. May 19, 2020. Epub ahead of print. doi:10.1097/bpo.0000000000001600