Review Article

The physical, psychological and social impact of long bone fractures on adults: A review

Sevani Singaram, Mergan Naidoo
African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine | Vol 11, No 1 | a1908 | DOI: | © 2019 Sevani Singaram, Mergan Naidoo | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 12 August 2018 | Published: 30 May 2019

About the author(s)

Sevani Singaram, Discipline of Public Health Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Mergan Naidoo, Discipline of Family Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa


Background: Long bone fractures are common injuries caused by trauma and are a common cause for referral to hospitals. Little consideration has been given to the impact of long bone fractures in adults despite the World Health Organization’s statement that such injuries cause substantial morbidity in low- and middle-income countries.

Aim: This review targeted published studies conducted from 1990 to 2017 that examined the impact of long bone fractures on the psychological, social, financial, occupational and physical health of adults.

Method: This scoping review involved a systematic literature search using key terms in Science Direct, Cochrane Library, BMJ Online, PubMed, Jstor, SpringerLink, Emerald Insight and Ebscohost Research databases and Google Scholar.

Results: From a total of 297 publications, 19 met the inclusion criteria: four publications focused on the impact of fractures of the humerus, one publication looked at ulna fractures, six publications focused on distal radius fractures, five looked at femur fractures and three focused on tibial fractures.

Conclusion: Long bone fractures have a considerable impact on many facets of a patient’s life. In some cases, the fracture prevents patients from working and meeting financial obligations. The injury limited previously normal social interactions and pre-injury functioning. Future research should examine the impact of long bone fractures in Africa, as there were very limited studies, which were identified.


long bone fractures; impact; physical; psychological; occupational; financial; social


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