Article Text

Download PDFPDF
The effect of army vest design on the occurrence of stress fractures and overuse injuries in female military recruits
  1. Ezequiel Palmanovich1,
  2. M Frankl2,
  3. M Nyska1,
  4. I Hetsroni1,
  5. N Constantini3,
  6. L Trejo4,
  7. R Bechar5,
  8. G Novak5,
  9. Z Lankovsky5 and
  10. G Mann1
  1. 1Meir Medical Center, Kfar Saba, Israel, Affiliated to Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv Universit, Israel
  2. 2Assaf Harofeh Medical Center, Zrifin, Israel
  3. 3Hadassah Medical Center, Jerusalem, Israel
  4. 4IDF, Medical Corp, Zrifin, Israel
  5. 5Israel Border Police Medical Corps, Lod, Israel
  1. Correspondence to Ezequiel Palmanovich, Orthopedic Department, Foot and Ankle Service, Meir Medical Center, 59 Tchernichovsky St, Kfar-Saba 4441002, Israel; ezepalm{at}


Introduction Stress fractures (SFs) occur when microdamage caused by repetitive mechanical load exceeds the biological load-bearing capacity of the bone. The study objective was to test whether a vest specifically designed and manufactured for female recruits, compared with the standard vest used on a regular basis by Border Police recruits, would reduce the incidence of SF in female Border Police recruits. Data based on reports of military personnel show that women are more likely to sustain SFs.

Methods A follow-up of 240 female Border Police infantry recruits, divided into two trial groups, was conducted from 2007 to 2009. Two different vests were evaluated—the standard special unit fighting vest, which was conventionally used by both men and women during basic training, and the new fighting vest, specially design for female body shape.

Results No significant difference was noted in the number of SFs between the two groups which may be attributed to increased weight of the new vest. There was a lower incidence of long bone SFs which may have been due to the superior vest design. The female Border Police Infantry recruits expressed great satisfaction with the new vest.

Conclusions Increased effort should be invested to further reduce the weight of female combat gear, alongside efforts to improve fit and comfort.

  • EDUCATION & TRAINING (see Medical Education & Training)
  • stress fracture
  • combat vest
  • female

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Contributors EP: conduct and reporting of the work; MF and LT: conduct; MN, RB and GN: planning; IH: reporting of the work; NC: planning and conduct; ZL: planning and reporting of the work and GM: planning, conduct and reporting of the work.

  • Funding Anonymous grant—for vest investigation.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Ethics approval Meir Medical Center Institutional Review Board.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.