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Soldier occupational load carriage: a narrative review of associated injuries.

Research paper by Robin Marc RM Orr, Rodney R Pope, Venerina V Johnston, Julia J Coyle

Indexed on: 14 Sep '13Published on: 14 Sep '13Published in: International journal of injury control and safety promotion



Abstract

This narrative review examines injuries sustained by soldiers undertaking occupational load carriage tasks. Military soldiers are required to carry increasingly heavier occupational loads. These loads have been found to increase the physiological cost to the soldier and alter their gait mechanics. Aggregated research findings suggest that the lower limbs are the most frequent anatomical site of injury associated with load carriage. While foot blisters are common, other prevalent lower limb injuries include stress fractures, knee and foot pain, and neuropathies, like digitalgia and meralgia. Shoulder neuropathies (brachial plexus palsy) and lower back injuries are not uncommon. Soldier occupational load carriage has the potential to cause injuries that impact on force generation and force sustainment. Through understanding the nature of these injuries targeted interventions, like improved physical conditioning and support to specialised organisations, can be employed.