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Musculoskeletal system injuries in the Polish Territorial Defence Forces
  1. Agnieszka Gołuchowska1 and
  2. K Sobieszek2
  1. 1Department of Sports Medicine, Medical University of Lodz, Pomorska 251, Poland
  2. 2Master's Degree in Physiotherapy, graduate of long-cycle programme in Physiotherapy, Faculty of Health Sciences, Medical University of Lodz, Poland; female soldier of the Polish Territorial Defence Forces, Medical University of Lodz, Lodz, Poland
  1. Correspondence to Dr Agnieszka Gołuchowska, Department of Sports Medicine, Medical University of Lodz, Lodz, 90-419, Poland; agnieszka.goluchowska{at}umed.lodz.pl

Abstract

Background Musculoskeletal system injuries (MSIs) are the major health problem of soldiers. The aim of this study was to assess the types of MSIs that occurred most frequently among soldiers and which parts of the body they generally affected.

Methods The study included 140 Territorial Army soldiers, both men and women, serving in the Polish Territorial Defence Forces (TDF). Times and frequency of MSIs were assessed using an original questionnaire available via a web-based platform, the TDF Information Portal and the Yammer network.

Results Among the participants, 42% reported MSIs, most often a single one (19%), incurred while doing military service. Damaged muscles and ligaments were the most common injuries in both groups (p>0.05). The knee joint was the main location of injuries for both sexes (24% in men vs 50% in women, p>0.05). Other parts of the body often affected by injuries were the shoulder joint (24%, p>0.05), head, spine, wrist, fingers, ankle and feet (19% each) in the male soldiers and the ankle (24%), spine (14%), head, chest, shoulder joint and foot (10% each) in the female soldiers. Injuries reoccurred with similar frequency in the female and male soldiers (43% vs 40%, p>0.05) and had the same location in both groups (43% vs 40%, respectively, p>0.05). Difficult terrain, too intensive military training and heavy loads were the main risk factors for MSIs in both groups (p>0.05).

Conclusions More than half of all the participants (19% of the men and 33% of the women) reported at least one injury incurred during military service. Over 40% of all the study subjects had reinjuries. The males and females were similar in terms of the most common type and location of MSI. Occurrence of MSIs rarely required interruption in the military training/service.

  • ACCIDENT & EMERGENCY MEDICINE
  • ALTITUDE MEDICINE
  • Health & safety
  • International health services
  • Public health

Data availability statement

Data are available on reasonable request.

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Footnotes

  • Contributors We confirm that this manuscript has not been published elsewhere and is not under consideration by another journal. All the authors have read and approved the manuscript and agreed on its submission to the BMJ Military Health. The study was supported by departmental sources only. KS acts as guarantor.

  • 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 None declared.

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