Background: Health literacy is defined as the degree of a person’s ability to retain, process, communicate, and comprehend basic health information. Inadequate health literacy impacts individuals of all ethnicities, ages, and educational levels. This study aimed to measure the level of comprehension in orthopedic trauma patients regarding their injuries, operations, postsurgical instructions, and general orthopedic health literacy. Materials and methods: A cross-sectional study that utilized a self-administered questionnaire was handed out conveniently to 245 patients attending the trauma orthopedic clinics at King Abdulaziz Medical City, Riyadh. The questionnaire was composed of 3 parts: the first was demographic data, second was about questions pertaining to the comprehension of their injury, the third was questions measuring general orthopedic literacy. Results: Mean age was 41 years old, and 75.1% were males. Out of all patients, 87% (n=213) successfully named the bone that they injured. On the other hand, only 11% (n=27) were able to select the correct answer regarding general X-ray facts. The group with a higher financial status scored higher on general orthopedic literacy questions (41% ± 20.5) than the group with a lower financial status (34% ± 22.8) (p=0.03). Forward logistic regression revealed that females were significantly more capable to tell what’s not true about X-rays than males (OR 0.25, 95% CI 0.09 to 0.66). Conclusion: Our orthopedic trauma population highlighted a significant lack of comprehension to their injuries, post-operative instruction, the course of their treatment and general orthopedic knowledge. Audits and development strategies, if implemented, followed by long-term studies of an improved method of communication between health care provider and the patient can shed light on potential risk factors and ensure an effective level of understanding for the patient.
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