DOI: 10.1093/bjs/znad258.007 ISSN:

1106 Epidemiology and Incidence of Upper Limb Fractures, a UK Level 1 Trauma Centre Perspective

J Zhang, A Stevenson, V Lu, A Zhou, F Bradshaw, M Duchniewicz, M Krkovic
  • Surgery



Understanding the incidence and epidemiology can inform clinicians and policymakers about the needs of the population. There is no recent, large UK-based study on the epidemiology of upper limb fractures. Our study reports on the upper limb fractures treated at a major trauma centre over a 7-year period


We collected data on fracture locations, age, gender, Charlson Comorbidity index (CCI), and treatment options of all upper limb fractures treated at a Level I Trauma Centre from January 2015 to 2022. Humerus, radius, and ulna fractures were each classified as proximal, diaphyseal and distal.


9915 patients sustained 12502 fractures, given an overall incidence of 313 fractures per 100,000 patients per year.

The incidence of fractures per 100,000 patients/year was: Scapula-16.5, clavicle-30.9, humerus-57.5, radius-84.2, ulna-57.0, carpal-9.5, metacarpal-17.2, phalanges-38.8. The mean age and CCI were 48.2 years and 1.72, respectively. 56.4% of patients were male.

All bone fractures distal to the elbow were associated with an age younger than the mean (all p<0.001), with humerus fracture patients having the oldest mean age (54.6). Compared to the mean gender ratio, except for ulna (no association), humerus (55% female) and radius (51% female), all other locations showed significantly higher incidences of males (all p<0.001).


To our knowledge, this represents the first study of this type in the UK since 2006. We sought to elucidate relative incidence and demographic associations with fractures to highlight changing population needs and allow guidelines and services at a regional and national level to operate with up-to-date information.

More from our Archive