Overuse Injuries in Basic Military Training: 1994

Exercise, Loaded March (1)Research Paper Title

The Incidence of Overuse Injuries in Military recruits during Basic Military Training.


A study was undertaken to document the incidence of overuse injuries sustained during basic military training.


The injuries in military recruits (N = 1,261) undergoing basic training were documented prospectively over a 9-week period. Injury incidence was expressed as percentage of all recruits injured, weekly incidence (injuries/1,000 recruits/week), and injuries/1,000 training hours. The incidence of six common specific overuse injuries was also recorded.


The overall incidence of injuries over the 9-week period was 31.9% (acute, 13.6%; overuse, 86.4%), or 1.8/1,000 training hours. The highest incidence of injuries was recorded in weeks 1 to 3 and week 9 of training, which were weeks characterised by marching ( > 77% of the training time). The highest incidence (injuries/1,000 training hours) of specific overuse injuries were tibial bone stress reaction (0.33), patellofemoral pain (0.22), and the iliotibial band friction syndrome (0.08). The incidence of stress fractures over the 9-week period was 1.2% (0.07/1,000 training hours). Injuries to the knee, lower leg, and ankle accounted for more than 80% of all injuries. A total of 3.6% of training days were lost during this period, mainly due to bone stress injuries.


In order to reduce injuries during basic military training, attention must be directed towards:

  1. Modifying the type of training; and
  2. Prevention of bone stress injuries.

Source: Jordaan, G. & Schwellnus, M.P. (1994) The Incidence of Overuse Injuries in Military recruits during Basic Military Training. Military Medicine. 159(6), pp.421-426.


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