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Aetiology and Social Implications of Forearm Fractures in a Modern Cypriot Population
Lee, Winsome W.S.; Williams, Anna; Kyriakou, Xenia-Paula
Within a forensic context, the classification of bony injuries is vital for the interpretation and determination of the cause of the trauma. Forearm fractures tend to be mainly defensive or accidental injuries, and can provide insight into the nature of interpersonal relationships and the interaction with the environment of a specific population. Forearm fractures may be a useful tool for identification of the deceased, determination of cause and manner of death, and can provide clues about cultural practices, lifestyle and violence.
Forearm fractures were analysed from the extremely well-preserved skeletal remains of a modern population (lived 1900-2008) of known elderly, but non-osteoporotic individuals (n=150; 75 male, 75 female) from the Cyprus Reference Research Collection, under the curatorship of Odyssey Fieldschool, Cyprus. It was hypothesised that there would be age and gender-related differences in distribution of fractures of the upper limb, and that side differences and extent of healing may allow the interpretation of the aetiology of the fractures.
Fracture data were compared to forensic literature to understand the aetiology and social implications of the trauma. The association of types of fractures and their prevalence with sex, known age-at-death, side, timing of injury and degree of healing are discussed. Of the 150 individuals, 28 exhibited 46 injuries. Of these, 17 (61%) exhibited only one injury whereas 11 (39%) had multiple trauma. Among all injuries, healed antemortem fractures had the highest frequency (74%) followed by partially healed (20%) and open (7%) fractures. No definite peri-mortem injuries were observed, despite excellent preservation. Colles’ fractures were found to be most prevalent, and were 5 times more common in women than in men. Barton fractures were more equally gender-distributed. Surprisingly, limb dominance did not affect the left-right distribution of trauma. Most fractures exhibited are thought to be accidental rather than violent in origin.