Musculoskeletal injuries in military personnel—Descriptive epidemiology, risk factor identification, and prevention

Mita Lovalekar, Keith Hauret, Tanja Roy, Kathryn Taylor, Sam D. Blacker, Phillip Newman, Ran Yanovich, Chen Fleischmann, Bradley C. Nindl, Bruce Jones, Michelle Canham-Chervak

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    27 Citations (Scopus)


    Objectives To provide an overall perspective on musculoskeletal injury (MSI) epidemiology, risk factors, and preventive strategies in military personnel. Design Narrative review. Methods The thematic session on MSIs in military personnel at the 5th International Congress on Soldiers’ Physical Performance (ICSPP) included eight presentations on the descriptive epidemiology, risk factor identification, and prevention of MSIs in military personnel. Additional topics presented were bone anabolism, machine learning analysis, and the effects of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) on MSIs. This narrative review focuses on the thematic session topics and includes identification of gaps in existing literature, as well as areas for future study. Results MSIs cause significant morbidity among military personnel. Physical training and occupational tasks are leading causes of MSI limited duty days (LDDs) for the U.S. Army. Recent studies have shown that MSIs are associated with the use of NSAIDs. Bone MSIs are very common in training; new imaging technology such as high resolution peripheral quantitative computed tomography allows visualization of bone microarchitecture and has been used to assess new bone formation during military training. Physical activity monitoring and machine learning have important applications in monitoring and informing evidence-based solutions to prevent MSIs. Conclusions Despite many years of research, MSIs continue to have a high incidence among military personnel. Areas for future research include quantifying exposure when determining MSI risk; understanding associations between health-related components of physical fitness and MSI occurrence; and application of innovative imaging, physical activity monitoring and data analysis techniques for MSI prevention and return to duty.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)963-969
    Number of pages7
    JournalJournal of Science and Medicine in Sport
    Issue number10
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021


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