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Fractures in Children: Epidemiology and Activity-Specific Fracture Rates
Per-Henrik Randsborg, MD1; Pål Gulbrandsen, MD, PhD2; Jūratė Šaltytė Benth, PhD2; Einar Andreas Sivertsen, MD, PhD1; Ola-Lars Hammer, MD1; Hendrik F.S. Fuglesang, MD1; Asbjørn Årøen, MD, PhD1
1 Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Akershus University Hospital, 1478 Lørenskog, Norway. E-mail address for P.-H. Randsborg: pran@ahus.no
2 Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Oslo, P.O. Box 1171, 0318 Oslo, Norway
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Investigation performed at Akershus University Hospital, Lørenskog, Norway

Disclosure: One or more of the authors received payments or services, either directly or indirectly (i.e., via his or her institution), from a third party in support of an aspect of this work. None of the authors, or their institution(s), have had any financial relationship, in the thirty-six months prior to submission of this work, with any entity in the biomedical arena that could be perceived to influence or have the potential to influence what is written in this work. No author has had any other relationships, or has engaged in any other activities, that could be perceived to influence or have the potential to influence what is written in this work. The complete Disclosures of Potential Conflicts of Interest submitted by authors are always provided with the online version of the article.

Copyright © 2013 by The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Inc.
J Bone Joint Surg Am, 2013 Apr 03;95(7):e42 1-7. doi: 10.2106/JBJS.L.00369
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Approximately one-third of pediatric fractures occur during sport or recreational activity. In this paper, we investigate the incidence and causes of pediatric fractures in our region and quantify the fracture rate per exposure time for the most common sport and recreational activities.


We prospectively evaluated all children younger than sixteen years who presented to our institution with a new fracture within a twelve-month period. Exposure time to the most common childhood activities was measured by means of interviewing random parents from the study population. The main outcome measures were the annual fracture incidence in the population and fracture rates per 10,000 hours of exposure to various sports and recreational activities.


A total of 1403 fractures were included. The overall annual incidence was 180.1 fractures per 10,000 children younger than sixteen years. The distal part of the radius was most often fractured (436 fractures, 31.1%). Snowboarding was associated with the highest activity-specific fracture rate, estimated to be 1.9 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.16 to 2.60) fractures per 10,000 hours of exposure. In comparison, the fracture rate per 10,000 hours of exposure was 0.79 (CI, 0.42 to 1.09) for handball, 0.44 (CI, 0.35 to 0.52) for soccer, and 0.35 (CI, 0.23 to 0.47) for trampolining.


The distal part of the radius is the most common fracture site in childhood. Fracture rates differ between various physical activities. The fracture rate for snowboarding was four times higher compared with that for other common childhood sport and recreational activities in our region.

Clinical Relevance: 

This descriptive epidemiology study has identified high-risk activities for pediatric fractures.

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    These activities have been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint sponsorship of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Inc. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
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