More than 80 per cent of Canadian patients with knee and ankle injuries are unable to return to their regular jobs.
And for some, surgery is the only way to get back on their feet.
The Canadian Institute for Health Information is compiling statistics on the number of people who are able to work or participate in their communities due to injuries, with the number growing steadily each year.
The institute says the numbers are growing at an alarming rate.
Dr. Paula Joly-Baker, an assistant professor in orthopaedic surgery at the University of Ottawa, says most of those who cannot return to work are in the lowest income bracket and are not insured.
“If you’re in a higher-income family, you’re more likely to be covered by your employer,” JolyBaker said.
“If you’ve got a lower-income parent, you might be more vulnerable because they’re going to be able to get health insurance through a family member.”
A report published last year by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found the number for Canadians with knee or ankle injuries is rising.
A 2011 report by the University’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control said one in five Canadians has a knee or hip injury, and another 25 per cent have an ankle or wrist injury.
The Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences has reported the number is rising across the country.
It says the majority of people with knee, ankle and wrist injuries are young and male.
The majority of Canadians who do not have knee or foot injuries are able-bodied individuals who are employed, and are also younger than 30.
However, some of those individuals may be unable to get jobs because they are in a low-income bracket or they are unable-bodied in general.
Some of those unable-bound workers will have to rely on government assistance to make ends meet.
Joly-Haker says a high percentage of people are able bodied in a high-income household.
“There’s a big number of young people who come from households with low incomes, but they’re able bodying.
They’re able to pay for their own health insurance and to have a decent lifestyle,” she said.”
They’re also more likely than others to have experienced a traumatic injury.”
If you or someone you know needs help, call the Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit a local health centre.