Prevalence Musculoskeletal Injuries


Lead Author(s): 

Beatrice J. Edwards, MD

Supporting Author(s): 

Sylvia I. Watkins-Castillo, PhD

More than 6.8 million injury episodes for which people sought medical treatment were self-reported by individuals in 2012. The majority of injuries occurred to people between the ages of 18 and 64 years, the ages that comprised 83% of the over-18-year population in the United States. Sprains and strains was the most frequent injury type for which medical care was sought, but 16% suffered fractures, 14% severe contusions, and 13% open wounds.

Falls are the primary cause of musculoskeletal injuries as the population ages. Approximately three out of four injuries among people aged 85 years and older for which a person is hospitalized or visits an emergency department is the result of a fall. Falls are also the primary cause of injury for anyone aged 65 years and older. Trauma such as auto accidents and other accidents involving machinery or moving objects is a major cause of musculoskeletal injuries among people ages 45 to 64 years, particularly for injuries where care is received in an emergency department. Other causes of injuries, including sports injuries, are seen in more than one in four (28%) injuries to people aged 45 to 64 years with a hospital discharge. (Reference Table 9B.6.1 PDF CSV and Table 9B.6.2 PDF CSV)

Cause of Musculoskeletal (MSK) Injuries for Self-Report, Hospital Discharges, and Emergency Department Visits, by Age, United States 2010/2012


  • 2014

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