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Musculoskeletal injury outcomes: 2-year retrospective service evaluation of a UK defence primary care rehabilitation facility (PCRF)
  1. Peter James Scott
  1. PCRF HMS Drake, Ministry of Defence, Plymouth PL2 2BG, UK
  1. Correspondence to Maj Peter James Scott,PCRF HMS Drake, Ministry of Defence, Plymouth, UK; peter.scott821{at}


Introduction Musculoskeletal injury represents the leading cause of medical discharge from the UK Armed Forces. This study evaluates effectiveness of care provision within a large primary care rehabilitation facility (PCRF) against directed defence best practice guidelines (BPGs)

Methods All new patient electronic records from January to July 16 were interrogated to identify demographics, causation, injury pathology, timelines and outcomes.

Results 393 eligible records (81.9% male) were identified. 17.6% were officers, 32.8% were seniors and 49.6% were juniors. The average age was 35.1 years (mode 30). The average wait to treatment was 8.3 days with 75.6% key performance indicator compliance. 47.3% were repeat injuries. The average care timeline was 117.1 days with 8.7 average treatment sessions needed. 30 remained under care at 2 years. 17.8% accessed hydrotherapy and 44% underwent exercise remedial instructors care. 14.2% of individuals required concurrent DCMH care (15.9% male and 26.8% female). 28.5% required multidisciplinary injury assessment clinic intervention with 74.1% compliance against BPGs. 2.9% used the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre. Common pathologies were low back pain (LBP) (n=67), upper limb (UL) soft tissue (n=40) and knee trauma (n=38). LBP had the highest recurrence rates (71.6%). Anterior knee pain took the longest (173.1 days) but had the best outcome on discharge. Ankles and lower limb muscle injuries had the best outcomes. Patella tendinopathy and knee trauma had the poorest outcome on discharge. LBP and patellar tendinopathy had the lowest fully fit rates at 2 years (56.7% and 53.8%, respectively). At 2 years, 58.2% of individuals achieved full fitness (60.7% men and 46.4% women), rising to 64% and 55%, respectively, when including those retained with limitations.

Conclusions The PCRF was generally compliant with BPGs, achieving good functional outcomes on discharge. Women were disproportionally represented, had higher concurrent DCMH attendance and poorer overall long-term outcomes. Repeat injury rates were significantly high.

  • musculoskeletal injury
  • rehabilitation
  • outcomes

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  • Contributors The author was the sole contributor to the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests The author is employed in the study location.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

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

  • Data availability statement Data may be obtained from a third party and are not publicly available.