Background: The activities carried out by soldiers in the army involve great physical demands and require intense trainings to perform combat-specific tasks. Musculoskeletal injury is a potential threat to the health and physical integrity of the soldier. This study aimed to evaluate the prevalence of lower limb musculoskeletal injuries among soldiers and to propose a training protocol to prevent the most frequent injuries.
Methods: This observational (cross-sectional) study recruited a sample of 103 soldiers who required medical attention, from a total 202 new battalion soldiers. The medical records (paper and online) had a form of running text. All data collected were recorded by the registered physicians of the battalion medical post. The records were analyzed by the following variables: medical diagnosis, injury site, mechanism, type of treatment, time loss, existence of previous injury, and recurring injury.
Results: A total of 112 musculoskeletal injuries were diagnosed in 71 soldiers, and other types of diseases/injuries were diagnosed in the other soldiers. Joint pain accounted for 55.4% of the diagnoses. The knee was the most affected site, while trauma and overload were the most common mechanisms of injury. Drug treatment was used most frequently, accounting for 58% of the cases. The majority of the sample obtained a temporary leave of absence for 1 to 6 days or not at all. Previous injuries and recurrence were not presented as risk factors for injury. With the data received, a protocol for the prevention of injuries to the lower limbs was proposed.
Conclusion: This study indicated that the most frequent site of injury is the knee, and joint pain is the most common diagnosis. These results may support the necessity to develop a neuromuscular training protocol to prevent lower limb injuries, which we suggest to be applied in future studies.
Keywords: Lower extremity; Military personnel; Physical therapy; Primary prevention; Proprioception; Wounds and injuries.