By the year 2035 almost 20% of the US population of 389 million people will be 65 years and older. What this group has, compared with aged populations in the past, is better health, more mobility, and more active lifestyles. From January 1989 through December 2010, a total of 494 elderly patients with 536 foot and ankle injuries were identified. Within this group, 237 (48%) patients with 294 injuries were sustained as a result of a high-energy mechanism. These mechanisms consisted of 170 motor vehicle accidents, 30 as a result of high (not ground level) energy falls, 2 from industrial accidents, and 35 classified as other, which included sports, blunt trauma, bicycle, airplane or boating accidents, crush injuries, and injuries resulting from a lawn mower. The injuries produced were 17 metatarsal fractures, 9 Lisfranc injuries, 10 midfoot (navicular, cuneiform, or cuboid) fractures, 23 talus fractures, 63 calcaneal fractures, 73 unimalleolar, bimalleolar, or trimalleolar ankle fractures, 45 pilon fractures, and 3 pure dislocations of the foot or ankle. Overall, 243 (83%) of these injuries underwent surgical fixation and data have shown that when surgery is used to manage high-energy injuries of the foot and ankle in the elderly individuals, the complications and outcomes are similar to those seen in younger patients. Therefore, the decision for surgical intervention for high-energy injuries of the foot and ankle should be based primarily on the injury pattern and not solely on the age of the patient.
Keywords: elderly, geriatric, high-energy injuries, foot and ankle