Lifting tasks are associated with injuries during the early portion of a deployment to Afghanistan

Mil Med. 2012 Jun;177(6):716-22. doi: 10.7205/milmed-d-11-00402.


U.S. Army soldiers spend months at a time working in austere environments during deployments. The numerous physical demands placed on them during deployment can lead to musculoskeletal injuries. These injuries account for the majority of medical evacuations and lost duty days, seriously affecting mission readiness. Because of limited electronic injury data, little research has been done on physical demands associated with injury in deployed environments. To this end, this study conducted a survey on 263 soldiers in a Stryker Brigade Combat Team during their third month of deployment to Afghanistan. In the third month, 23% sustained an injury and 43% of injuries affected the low-back, shoulder, or knee. Dismounted patrolling and lifting were reported to account for 36% of injuries. Wearing heavy loads and lifting tasks were identified as injury risk factors. Wearing heavier equipment and lifting objects higher may increase physical demands and may result in injury.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Afghan Campaign 2001-*
  • Back Injuries / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Knee Injuries / epidemiology
  • Lifting / adverse effects*
  • Male
  • Military Personnel*
  • Risk Factors
  • Shoulder Injuries
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Young Adult