The Epidemiology and Health Economics of Ankle Injuries
Bielska, Iwona A
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The thesis focuses on a central theme of the epidemiology and health economics of ankle sprains to inform health policy and the provision of health services. It describes the burden, prognosis, resource utilization, and costs attributed to these injuries. The first manuscript systematically reviewed 34 studies on the direct and indirect costs of treating ankle and foot injuries. The overall costs per patient ranged from $2,075- $3,799 (2014 USD) for ankle sprains; $290-$20,132 for ankle fractures; and $6,345-$45,731 for foot fractures, reflecting differences in injury severity, treatment methods, and study characteristics. The second manuscript provided an epidemiological and economic profile of non-fracture ankle and foot injuries in Ontario using linked databases from the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences. The incidence rate of ankle sprains was 16.9/1,000 person-years. Annually, ankle and foot injuries cost $21,685,876 (2015 CAD). The mean expenses per case were $99.98 (95% CI, $99.70-100.26) for any injury. Costs ranged from $133.78-$210.75 for ankle sprains and $1,497.12-$1,755.69 for dislocations. The third manuscript explored the impact of body mass index on recovery from medically attended grade 1 and 2 ankle sprains using the Foot and Ankle Outcome Score. Data came from a randomized controlled trial of a physiotherapy intervention in Kingston, Ontario. At six months, the odds ratio of recovery for participants with obesity was 0.60 (0.37-0.97) before adjustment and 0.74 (0.43-1.29) after adjustment compared to non-overweight participants. The fourth manuscript used trial data to examine the health-related quality of life among ankle sprain patients using the Health Utilities Index version 3 (HUI-3). The greatest improvements in scores were seen at one month post-injury (HUI-3: 0.88, 95% CI: 0.86-0.90). Individuals with grade 2 sprains had significantly lower ambulation scores than those with grade 1 sprains (0.70 vs. 0.84; p<0.05). The final manuscript used trial data to describe the financial burden (direct and indirect costs) of ankle sprains. The overall mean costs were $1,508 (SD: $1,452) at one month and increased to $2,206 (SD: $3,419) at six months. Individuals with more severe injuries at baseline had significantly higher (p<0.001) costs compared to individuals with less severe injuries, after controlling for confounders.