Prevalence and presentation of acute osteoarticular injuries of the hand among patients with musculoskeletal injuries as seen at mulago hospital
Mwangi, Kigera Williams James
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BACKGROUND: The hand is an important part of the body responsible for communication and manipulating the environment. Injuries to the hand have severe consequences to the individual and society as a whole. There is paucity of research into this subject. OBJECTIVE: To determine the prevalence and presentation of osteoarticular hand injuries among musculoskeletal injury patients presenting to mulago hospital. METHOD: A Cross-sectional descriptive study was done on 516 patients with musculoskeletal injuries presenting to mulago hospital. Patients were consecutively enrolled in the study. Data was collected using questionnaires capturing information from relevant history, physical examination and X-ray interpretation. This was done between August 2009 and December 2009. Data was entered into SPSS statistical program for analysis. RESULTS: The prevalence of osteoarticular hand injuries was calculated to be 14.9%. The patients were predominantly young men. The commonest cause of injuries was road traffic crashes at 42.59% of all injuries with motorcycle accidents predominating, followed by assaults. The commonest injuries were fractures comprising 86.2% of hand injuries with injuries to the metacarpals being commonest comprising 40.6% of all hand injuries. Associated injuries were present in 38.9% of all hand injury patients and were commonly to the head and neck and the ipslateral upper limb. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATION: Osterarticular hand injuries are common and should be sought and managed by all clinicians dealing with cases of trauma. Efforts should be made to reduce the number of road traffic crashes which are the major cause of these injuries. Medical facilities should be equipped to deal adequaltely with these injuries. The subject has not been studied adequaltely and further research is warranted.