SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 12, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- According to new data presented at the 2024 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), sports injuries in seniors have increased significantly from 55,684 in 2012 to 93,221 in 2021 in the United States with significant differences in the types of activities and injuries. The study, "Orthopaedic Sports Injuries in an Aging Population: Currents Trends and Future Projections," also projected a 123% increase in sports-related orthopaedic injuries in those ages 65 and older from 2021 to 2040 while the number of orthopaedic surgeons is only projected to increase by 7.9% during that same timeframe.
"In practice, we are seeing adults in their eighties and nineties participating in activities that weren't previously of interest to them, such as pickleball," said Jay Zaifman, MD, lead author and orthopaedic surgery resident, NYU Grossman School of Medicine. "One of the top findings from our research is a clear potential for disparity between the number of orthopaedic surgeons and the increasing need for treating older adults experiencing sports injuries. There are traditionally different protocols and treatments for this age group. We now need to consider the new higher demands of many of these patients. Taking a patient-centered approach and rethinking our standard of care for more active older adults is crucial."
Through a retrospective cross-sectional epidemiological study, the researchers looked at sports-related injuries in patients 65 years and older between 2012-2021 in the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission's National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) database. The NEISS collects data from 100 hospitals that act as a nationally representative probability sample of all U.S. hospitals with emergency rooms. Population estimates and projections were obtained from the U.S. Census Bureau, collecting projections through 2040. The Physician Compare Database was used to estimate the total number of orthopaedic surgeons in the U.S.
Highlights of the data include:
To account for the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic had on sports-related activities, 2012 was compared to 2019, which showed proportionally less skiing-related injuries and more upper leg and spine injuries than in 2012. Strains/sprains and lacerations were also less common in 2019 than in 2012.
"While we don't have the data on this, we can extrapolate that it is very unlikely there were actually fewer sprains and strains that occurred in 2021 when compared to 2012," said Dr. Zaifman. "The patients may be going to their primary care doctor or they're seeing an outpatient orthopaedic surgeon for these injuries. Perhaps they are more aware that this isn't an emergent injury, or they're better educated on the proper location for treatment. It was emergent injuries like fractures that were presenting to the emergency room."
For information on injury prevention and seniors exercise programs, visit OrthoInfo.org.
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About the AAOS
With more than 39,000 members, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons is the world's largest medical association of musculoskeletal specialists. The AAOS is the trusted leader in advancing musculoskeletal health. It provides the highest quality, most comprehensive education to help orthopaedic surgeons and allied health professionals at every career level to best treat patients in their daily practices. The AAOS is the source for information on bone and joint conditions, treatments and related musculoskeletal healthcare issues; and it leads the healthcare discussion on advancing quality.
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SOURCE American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons