Effect of rest from running on overuse injuries in army basic training

Am J Prev Med. 2000 Apr;18(3 Suppl):147-55. doi: 10.1016/s0749-3797(99)00167-1.


Background: It has been hypothesized that a period of rest from running in the early weeks of basic military training will prevent stress fractures among recruits.

Design: Modification of running schedules in companies of Army recruits undergoing basic military training was assigned.

Setting/participants: Six male training companies were enrolled and followed during their 8 weeks of basic military training at Fort Bliss, Texas, in summer/fall 1989.

Intervention: Intervention companies were asked to rest from running during the second, third, or fourth week of basic military training.

Main outcome measures: Data were collected from questionnaires, anthropometric measurements, Army physical fitness tests, company training logs, and medical record abstraction of all clinic visits.

Results: Among the 1357 enrolled male recruits, there were 236 (17%) with overuse injury and 144 (11%) with traumatic injury, resulting in 535 clinic visits and 1927 training days lost. Stress fracture/reaction rates varied from 3 to 8 per 100 recruits among the intervention companies and 2 to 7 per 100 recruits among the non-intervention companies. Total injury rates were 18 to 35 per 100 recruits in the intervention companies and 18 to 29 per 100 recruits in the non-intervention companies.

Conclusions: The study provided no evidence for a protective effect on overuse injuries of resting from running for 1 week early in basic military training. There was varied physical training among the companies, however, with variation of injury rates that likely related to factors other than the intervention.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Athletic Injuries / prevention & control*
  • Cumulative Trauma Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Fractures, Stress / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Military Personnel*
  • Physical Fitness
  • Running / injuries*
  • Treatment Outcome