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Musculoskeletal injuries in British Army recruits: A prospective study of diagnosis-specific incidence and rehabilitation times

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Iain SpearsORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2015 Sharma et al.; licensee BioMed Central.Background: Musculoskeletal injuries during initial military training are a significant medical problem facing military organisations globally. In order to develop an injury management programme, this study aims to quantify the incidence and rehabilitation times for injury specific diagnoses. Methods: This was a prospective follow-up study of musculoskeletal injuries in 6608 British Army recruits during a 26-week initial military training programme over a 2-year period. Incidence and rehabilitation times for injury specific diagnoses were recorded and analysed. Results: During the study period the overall incidence of musculoskeletal injuries was 48.6%, and the most common diagnosis was iliotibial band syndrome (6.2%). A significant proportion of the injuries occurred during the first 11 weeks of the programme. The longest rehabilitation times were for stress fractures of the femur, calcaneus and tibia (116±17 days, 92±12 days, and 85±11 days, respectively). The combination of high incidence and lengthy rehabilitation indicates that medial tibial stress syndrome had the greatest impact on training, accounting for almost 20% of all days spent in rehabilitation. Conclusion: When setting prevention priorities consideration should be given to both the incidence of specific injury diagnoses and their associated time to recovery.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Sharma J, Greeves JP, Byers M, Bennett AN, Spears IR

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders

Year: 2015

Volume: 16

Online publication date: 04/05/2015

Acceptance date: 17/04/2015

Date deposited: 27/05/2020

ISSN (electronic): 1471-2474

Publisher: BioMed Central Ltd.


DOI: 10.1186/s12891-015-0558-6

PubMed id: 25935751


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