Identifying children who develop chronic pain after a fracture injury

Disease - Sports injury, traumatic fracture

Lead applicant - Dr Emma Fisher

Organisation - University of Bath

Type of grant - Career Development Fellowship

Status of grant - Active

Amount of the original award - £371,035

Start date - 4 February 2019

Reference - 22054

What are the aims of this research?

The aim of this research is to identify factors that make it more likely for children to experience pain after the normal recovery time of a bone fracture. To do this, the researchers will study children who have a fracture in order to understand how biological (e.g. sex), psychosocial (e.g. anxiety) and social (e.g. parent behaviours) factors can determine whether a child is more likely to develop long-term pain. Using this information, the researchers will develop and test a new questionnaire that can be used in fracture clinics to identify children at risk of experiencing chronic pain. This would allow healthcare professionals to give them better care and reduce the likelihood of persistent pain.

Why is this research important?

A third of children experience a fracture before they are 17 years of age. Although most children recover from these injuries, a third of children experience pain three months after their fracture injury and this can continue long after the injury has healed. This long-term pain can stop children from enjoying life and can prevent them from reaching their full potential.

How will the findings benefit people with arthritis?

If shown to be successful, the questionnaire developed by the researchers could be used in fracture clinics so that children who are at higher risk of long-term pain can receive the right care earlier. The findings from this work could also be used in the future to develop better treatments, providing skills to children and their families to help them cope with the injury. Together this would improve the quality of life for children and their parents after injury, as well as reduce costs to the NHS.