MUSCULOSKELETAL (MSK) INJURIES
Overview and Impact
MSK injuries among Active Duty Soldiers result in over 10 million limited duty days (LDD) each year and account for over 70% of the medically non-deployable population. Most military MSK injuries are to the lower limbs (foot, ankle, lower leg, knee) and are cumulative in nature. They are attributed primarily to running and occasionally to rucking.
Running injuries are an Army-wide problem. In April 2020, Maj. Gen. Lonnie G. Hibbard, commanding general of the U.S. Army Center for Initial Military Training, U.S. Army Training Doctrine Command said $557 million are spent annually to help Soldiers recover from running-related lower extremity injuries.
Military training-related MSK injuries have been called “the single most significant medical impediment to military readiness.” MSK injuries and their long-term effects are also a leading cause for medical disability and discharge.¹
Musculoskeletal (MSK) injuries can be described as damage to tissue(s) of the musculoskeletal system – bones, joints, cartilage, muscles, fascia, tendons, ligaments, bursa and synovium, and can be grouped into two main categories:
Musculoskeletal injuries are of critical concern for all military branches, but especially so for the Army due to sheer numbers. MSK injuries have a ripple effect that extends to mental health, morale and readiness. Previous MSK injury is a risk factor for future MSK injury and may negatively impact confidence to return to duty.
Learning how to move correctly (technique) and developing this skill is the most direct way to prevent and reduce musculoskeletal (MSK) injuries. A running skill gap is the reason for the high injury rate among military.
Running skill development plays a key role in optimal physical function and injury prevention. The integration of basic movement concepts can also improve the overall performance of the individual Soldier.
Injury prevention and human performance optimization start with learning how to move correctly.
As with weightlifting, technique and form in running is a decisive component of success. You are either getting it done or getting injured. The initial stages in any training program should focus on development of a fundamental skill of movement – how to run (how to ruck, how to lift, how to throw, etc).
Running skill development can reduce impact on knees by up to 50% (Arendse, 2004) and running technique is an important component of running economy and performance (Folland, 2017).
In line with the official recommendations for general injury prevention and guides for leaders, the following strategy is specific to musculoskeletal injury prevention related to running.
Schedule running seminar on your post to follow the training schedule and protocols in Field Manual (FM) 7-22 (Holistic Health and Fitness, October 2020). 1-Day seminar provides theory and practice to improve running practice and support team building.
Recommended for everyone.
This training course is a standardized approach to running and is part of the updated US Army FM 7-22. It focuses on improving running skill and biomechanics in order to directly optimize running performance, increase speed and reduce the risk of injuries.
Recommended for everyone.
In line with injury prevention, readiness and human performance optimization initiatives, this certification enables the recipients with a critical skill to instruct in running technique and to enforce the implementation of the updated regulations.
Recommend for leadership.
Published by Defense Centers for Public Health