Analysis of musculoskeletal injuries sustained in falls from the United States-Mexico Border Fence

David R. Burk, Adam R. Pah, John T Ruth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations


Injuries sustained by unauthorized individuals who jump or fall from the United States-Mexico border fence are frequently treated by trauma centers in border states. The authors investigated patterns of musculoskeletal injury occurring in these individuals to improve emergency department assessment and to identify strategies to prevent future injuries. A retrospective chart review was performed for patients presenting to an urban, level I trauma center with musculoskeletal injuries sustained in a jump or fall from the United States-Mexico border fence between February 2004 and February 2010. Frequency of fracture by site, frequency of open fracture, and associated patterns of injury were recorded. The population was stratified by age and sex to identify disparity in injury pattern. Average length of stay and number of surgical interventions were also recorded. During the study period, 174 individuals who had jumped or fallen from the United States-Mexico border fence were identified. The population contained 93 (53%) women and 81 (47%) men with an average age of 31.5 years (range, 11-56 years). On average (±standard error), men sustained slightly more fractures than women (1.77±0.12 vs 1.43±0.07; P=.015). There were no significant differences in the number of fractures sustained between age groups. Average length of stay for patients admitted to the hospital was 3.5 days. Patients underwent an average of 0.75 surgical interventions during admission. Falls from the United States-Mexico border fence are a significant cause of morbidity among unauthorized immigrants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e432-e435
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2017


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

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