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Am J Prev Med. 2010 Jan;38(1 Suppl):S61-70. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2009.10.021.

Musculoskeletal injuries description of an under-recognized injury problem among military personnel.

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U.S. Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, USA.



Although injuries are recognized as a leading health problem in the military, the size of the problem is underestimated when only acute traumatic injuries are considered. Injury-related musculoskeletal conditions are common in this young, active population. Many of these involve physical damage caused by micro-trauma (overuse) in recreation, sports, training, and job performance. The purpose of this analysis was to determine the incidence of injury-related musculoskeletal conditions in the military services (2006) and describe a standardized format in which to categorize and report them.


The subset of musculoskeletal diagnoses found to be injury-related in previous military investigations was identified. Musculoskeletal injuries among nondeployed, active duty service members in 2006 were identified from military medical surveillance data. A matrix was used to report and categorize these conditions by injury type and body region.


There were 743,547 injury-related musculoskeletal conditions in 2006 (outpatient and inpatient, combined), including primary and nonprimary diagnoses. In the matrix, 82% of injury-related musculoskeletal conditions were classified as inflammation/pain (overuse), followed by joint derangements (15%) and stress fractures (2%). The knee/lower leg (22%), lumbar spine (20%), and ankle/foot (13%) were leading body region categories.


When assessing the magnitude of the injury problem in the military services, injury-related musculoskeletal conditions should be included. When these injuries are combined with acute traumatic injuries, there are almost 1.6 million injury-related medical encounters each year. The matrix provides a standardized format to categorize these injuries, make comparisons over time, and focus prevention efforts on leading injury types and/or body regions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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