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The global burden of musculoskeletal injury in low and lower-middle income countries



While the global burden of musculoskeletal injury is increasingly recognized, few epidemiologic studies have specifically recorded its incidence or prevalence, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. Understanding the burden of musculoskeletal injury relative to other health conditions is critical to effective allocation of resources to mitigate the disability that results from trauma. The current study aims to systematically review the existing primary literature on the incidence and prevalence of pelvic and appendicular fractures, a major component of musculoskeletal injury, in low- and lower-middle income countries (LMICs).


This study conforms to the systematic review and traditional meta-analysis guidelines outlined in the PRISMA-P statement. Incidence rates were calculated as the occurrence of new fracture cases per 100,000 person-years, and prevalence as total fracture cases per population sample, reported as percentages.


The literature search yielded 3497 total citations. There were 21 full-text articles, representing 14 different countries, selected for data extraction. Included studies reported a wide range of incidence and prevalence rates, with an overall mean fracture incidence ranging from 779 (95% CI: 483.0-1188.7) to 1574 (95% CI: 1285.1-1915.1) per 100,000 person-years.


Better understanding the unmet burden of musculoskeletal injury in LMICs is critical to effectively allocating resources and advocating for underserved populations. To address existing gaps and heterogeneity within the literature, future research should incorporate population-based sampling with broader geographic representation in LMICs to more accurately capture the burden of disease.

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