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Walking your dog can lead to serious injuries

Photo: Barbara Lopez/iStockphoto

Injuries related to dog-walking sent nearly 423,000 U.S. adults to the ER over a recent 20-year period, researchers estimate.

Using data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, researchers at Johns Hopkins University found that more than half of the injured dog walkers (55%) fell when pulled or tripped by a leash.

The most common injuries were finger fractures, traumatic brain injury, and shoulder sprains or strains.

Seventy-five percent of those treated were women, while 47% were between ages 40 and 64. Women were 50% more likely than men to sustain a fracture, while older walkers showed a greater risk of falling, suffering a fracture and incurring a TBI.


The number of these injuries more than quadrupled during the study period.

“Clinicians should be aware of these risks and convey them to patients, especially women and older adults,” Edward McFarland, senior study author and director of the Division of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery at Johns Hopkins Medicine, said in a press release. “Despite our findings, we also strongly encourage people to leash their dogs wherever it is legally required.”

The study was published online in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

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