Article abstract

Introduction: complications arising from the practice of traditional bone setting is a major contributor to the challenges the orthodox orthopaedic practitioner in Nigeria faces. We share our experience at a multi-specialist private health facility in Warri, South-south, Nigeria.


Methods: case notes of patients with musculoskeletal injuries who had prior treatment by traditional bone setters with resulting complications before presenting at our health facility for treatment were reviewed and relevant information extracted and entered in an already prepared proforma. Data were analysed using SPSS version 17 and results presented in form of means, percentages, ratios and tables.


Results: 43 cases were reviewed in a period of 8 years. There were 21 males and 22 females. The average age of patients was 44.8 + 20.3 years. The most frequent age group affected was that of 40-49 years. 45.8% of the initial injuries were due to road traffic accidents while 39.5% resulted from falls. Femoral fractures and humeral fractures formed 20.4% and 14.8% of cases respectively. 40.8% of traditional bone setters complications observed were non-union of fractures of various bones followed by mal-union in 24.5% of cases.


Conclusion: the observed complications of traditional bone setters practice in this study were similar to those previously reported in the literature. These complications constitute a significant challenge to the orthopaedic practitioner in Africa with associated negative socioeconomic impact on our society. Government and other relevant stakeholders need to unite and take decisive actions to mitigate this problem.