Background: Limb fractures are increasingly common in low-income and middle-income countries due to an increase in motor vehicle and other accidents. Fractures may often lead to physical impairment that affects an individual’s ability to carry out tasks.
Objectives: To assess the physical impact of long bone fractures on adults in KwaZulu-Natal.
Method: A standardised questionnaire pertaining to activities at home and leisure was used to establish patient-reported outcomes at nine public hospitals. English-speaking and isiZulu-speaking participants who had sustained a single long bone fracture in the preceding 4 to 12 weeks at the time of data collection were included. The following activities were evaluated: walking, running, exercising, driving, performing household chores, writing, answering telephones, texting on a cell phone, bathing, using crockery and preparing meals.
Results: A total of 821 participants completed the questionnaire. Ninety-three per cent had closed long bone fractures and 69 per cent were lower limb fractures. Fifty-seven per cent of the fractures were caused by a fall. Female participants (p = 0.19) with lower limb fractures were more likely to have greater difficulty in performing tasks and participants 60 years of age and older (p = 0.001) were significantly more likely to have difficulty performing tasks.
Conclusion: These findings illustrate the daily limitations in patients’ everyday activities at home, leisure and in activities such as driving.
Clinical implications: This study highlights the difficulty that some individuals, particularly women and individuals 60 years of age and older, face in performing daily tasks after experiencing a long bone fracture.