Life-altering outcomes after lower extremity injury sustained in motor vehicle crashes

Kathleen M. Read, Joseph A. Kufera, Patricia C. Dischinger, Timothy J. Kerns, Shiu M. Ho, Andrew R. Burgess, Cynthia A. Burch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


Background: Lower extremity injuries (LEIs) sustained in vehicular crashes result in physical problems and unexpected psychosocial consequences. Their significance is diminished by low Abbreviated Injury Scale scores. Methods: Drivers who sustained LEIs were identified as part of the Crash Injury Research and Engineering Network (CIREN) and interviewed during hospitalization, at 6 months, and at 1 year. All were occupants of newer vehicles with seatbelts and airbags. Results: Sixty-five patients were followed for 1 year. Injuries included mild brain injury (43%), ankle/foot fractures (55%), and bilateral injuries (37%). One year post-injury, 46% reported limitations in walking and 22% with ankle/foot fractures were unable to return to work. Depression (39%), cognitive problems (32%), and post-traumatic stress disorder (18%) were significant in the mild brain injury group. Conclusions: Long-lasting physical and psychological burdens may impede recovery and alter the lifestyle of patients with LEI. These issues need to be addressed by trauma center personnel.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)815-823
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Trauma - Injury, Infection and Critical Care
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Lower extremity injury
  • Motor vehicle crash
  • Outcomes
  • Psychosocial consequences
  • Traumatic brain injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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