Profile and cost of sport and exercise-related hand and wrist injuries with Emergency Department presentation

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Objectives: Injuries to the hand and wrist from sport and exercise are common and costly. This cost-of-illness analysis was performed to estimate the economic implications of hand and wrist injuries that were sustained as a result of participation during sport or exercise. Perspective: Cost estimates were calculated from resource use in the emergency, inpatient and outpatient settings from the perspective of one public healthcare service. Setting: Alfred Health, a large public health service with two emergency departments located in Victoria, Australia. Methods: This descriptive epidemiological study used ICD-10 diagnostic codes and electronic billing records to identify 778 potential cases for inclusion. Electronic medical records were screened and reviewed to extract demographic and patient care journey data. Results: 692 individuals, (n = 761 individual zone of injuries), were included. Australian Rules Football (ARF) was the largest contributor to injuries (20.2%) followed by riding bicycles (15.9%. The total cost of all injuries was $790,325, with a median cost per case of $278 [IQR $210–$282] in the Emergency Department n = 692, $3328 [IQR $2242–$6441] in the inpatient setting n = 76 and $630 [IQR $460–$870] in the outpatient setting n = 244. Conclusions: Hand and wrist injuries sustained from sport and exercise contribute to a significant financial burden on the healthcare system. Future research that considers the costs that occur outside of the public healthcare service is required estimate the burden associated with these injuries comprehensively. Injury prevention programs may mitigate the observed injury trends.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)683-689
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Science and Medicine in Sport
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020


  • Cost-of-illness
  • Epidemiology
  • Hand injury
  • Health economics
  • Wrist injury

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