The Epidemiology, Management, and Outcome of Field Hockey‑related Fractures in a Standard Population

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Edinburgh Orthopaedic Trauma Unit, Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Scotland

2 Department of Orthopaedic, Leeds General Infirmary, Leeds, England, United Kingdom



Background: Field hockey is one of the most popular sports in the world, yet little is known about patient outcome following fracture
injuries sustained during this sport. Objectives: The aim of this study is to describe the epidemiology, management, and outcome of
field hockey‑related fractures in a known UK population at all skill levels. Materials and Methods: All fractures sustained during field
hockey from 2007 to 2008 within the adult Lothian population were prospectively recorded and confirmed by an orthopedic surgeon
during treatment at the sole adult orthopedic center in the region. Nonresident individuals were not included in the study. Follow‑up data
were obtained in September 2010 to determine return rates and times to field hockey. Results: Nineteen fractures were recorded over the
study period in 19 patients. Seventeen (89%) of the fractures were recorded in the upper limb, with 15 (79%) recorded in hand. Eighteen
fractures (85%) in 18 patients (95%) were followed up at a mean interval of 31 months (range: 25–37 months; standard deviation [SD]
2.1 months). The mean time for return to field hockey from injury was 10.8 weeks (range: 3–26 weeks; SD 7.1 weeks). For patients with
upper limb injuries, the mean time was 9.2 weeks (range: 3–20 weeks; SD 5.7 weeks), compared to 22 weeks (range: 18–26 weeks; SD
5.7 weeks) for patients with lower limb injuries. Eleven percent of the cohort did not return to field hockey. Seventy‑eight percent of
the cohort returned to field hockey at the same level or higher. Fifty percent had ongoing related problems, yet only 17% had impaired
field hockey ability because of these problems. Fractures with the highest morbidity in not returning to field hockey were as follows:
Metacarpal 14% and finger phalanx 13%. Conclusions: The significant majority of field hockey‑related fractures are sustained in the
upper limb, notably the hand. Around ninety percent of patients sustaining a fracture during field hockey will return to this sport at a
similar level. While half of these will have persisting symptoms 2 years postinjury, only one‑third of symptomatic patients will have
impaired field hockey ability because of this.


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