By Jim Leffman via SWNS
Traumatic brain injury is the second most common injury suffered by people who walk their dogs, according to a new study.
The most common is a broken finger, followed by a traumatic brain injury, and then a twisted or sprained shoulder.
And the researchers found that it was women and people over the age of 65 who bore the brunt of the most serious injuries.
The study comes from ER statistics from 2001 to 2020 and only relates to people who had their dog on a leash at the time.
researchers of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, MD, say the findings are particularly relevant given the rise in dog ownership during the pandemic.
maxson singingThe study’s first author and a third-year medical student, said: “Although dog walking is a common daily activity for many adults, few studies have characterized its burden of injury.
“We saw the need for more complete information on these types of incidents.
“Dog ownership has also increased significantly in recent years during the COVID-19 pandemic. pandemic.
“According to a 2021-2022 National Pet Ownership Survey, nearly 53% of American households own at least one dog.”
The study, published in the journal Medicine and science in sports and exercisefound that women and all adults 65 and older were more likely to suffer serious injuries, such as fractures and traumatic brain injuries, than people in other demographic groups.
The team from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health used the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System database for their study.
Between 2001 and 2020, about 422,659 adults sought treatment at US emergency rooms for injuries resulting from walking dogs on a leash.
Nearly half of all patients were adults 40 to 64 years old, and 75 percent of patients were women.
Most of the injuries occurred due to falls after being pulled on, entangled in, or tripping over a leash attached to a dog they were walking.
The researchers defined traumatic brain injury as concussions and non-concussive internal head injuries, which may include contusion (a bruise on brain tissue), epidural hematoma (bleeding above the outer membrane of the brain), or hematoma subdural (bleeding under the outer membrane of the brain).
Traumatic brain injury and hip fracture were the two most common injuries among adults 65 and older.
Women with dog walking-related injuries were 50 percent more likely than men to sustain a fracture.
Older dog walkers were more than three times as likely to have a fall, more than twice as likely to have a fracture, and 60% more likely to have a traumatic brain injury than younger dog walkers.
Over the 20-year study period, the annual number of injuries more than quadrupled.
The researchers believe this may be due to increasing rates of dog ownership and the promotion of dog walking for fitness.
Dr. Edward McFarland The study’s lead author and director of the Division of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery at Johns Hopkins Medicine added: “Physicians should be aware of these risks and communicate them to patients, especially women and older adults.
“We encourage clinicians to screen for pets, assess risk of fractures and falls, and discuss safe dog-walking practices at regular health maintenance visits for these vulnerable groups.
“Despite our findings, we also strongly encourage people to leash their dogs where legally required.”