How to Avoid Personal Injuries When Training in the Military

Military training aims to make soldiers battle-ready. It begins with eight (or more) weeks of basic military training. The bulk of this training is composed of intense physical activity such as running, obstacle courses, and ruck marches/load carriages. Rigorous drills and exercises aim to strengthen recruits in preparation for deployment and operations. However, military training has become something of a paradox – the activities meant to instil strength, agility, and endurance in personnel has become one of the main reasons why soldiers are unfit for deployment, let alone for combat.

Sgt. Ashley Mohr, a drill instructor with Platoon 4039, Oscar Company, 4th Recruit Training Battalion, ensures her recruits have their valuables Sept. 17, 2014, on Parris Island, S.C. Drill instructors ensure all recruits and their equipment are accounted for at the end of the day. Mohr is a 27-year-old native of Salamanca, N.Y. Oscar Company is scheduled to graduate Nov. 7, 2014. Parris Island has been the site of Marine Corps recruit training since Nov. 1, 1915. Today, approximately 20,000 recruits come to Parris Island annually for the chance to become United States Marines by enduring 13 weeks of rigorous, transformative training. Parris Island is home to entry-level enlisted training for 50 percent of males and 100 percent of females in the Marine Corps. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Vaniah Temple)

Common Injuries

Injuries are the most persistent health issue in the Army. A study reports that Army training-related injuries account for half of all the harms experienced by servicemen. These same drills and exercises cause injuries to numerous service members each year. Prolonged or excessive running can lead to (for example) ankle sprains, shin splints, knee cap pain, Achilles tendonitis, and plantar fasciitis. Push-ups/press-ups and pull-ups/heaves can lead to partial or total shoulder dislocation. Sit-ups can harm the spinal discs and may result in lower back pain. Ruck marching, one of the Army standard tests for strength and endurance, can cause significant stress on the shoulders, spine, and hips. These injuries on the lower extremities and back are known as musculoskeletal injuries.

Musculoskeletal injuries that progress to become overuse injuries, osteoarthritis, and tinnitus can lead to hospitalisation and translate to the loss of significant hours in training. Training injuries not only affect trainees but active duty service personnel as well. Thus, injuries limit combat-ready troops availability and affect service personnel’s readiness for active duty and deployment. Military training poses several risks, both for trainees and active duty troops.

If you, like many of your military peers, have found yourself severely injured during the course of standard training, you can reach out to in order to get the appropriate compensation for your injuries. If you are still in training and have not experienced any injuries or only are experiencing minor pains, then there are things that you can do to mitigate your chances of experiencing these serious injuries.

For training to stand true to its aim to make soldiers battle-ready, personnel need to learn how to protect themselves from overuse injuries.

Boot Camp

Preventing Injuries

The following tips can aid soldiers as they undergo extensive military training:

  1. Perform dynamic warm-up and stretches:
    • Warm-up exercises prepare the body for high levels of activity. Recommended routines include jump roping, jogging in place, and swinging arms to increase temperature and blood flow.
  2. Gradually increase intensity and duration:
    • Exercises and other forms of physical activity must build up over time. These activities may require staggered increases spread over a couple of weeks.
  3. Use proper equipment:
    • Equipment protects the body from harm.
    • Wearing proper shoes for running prevents blisters and ankle sprains, while using kneecaps and ankle braces can aid in jumping activities.
    • Helmets and mouth guards protect during contact sports, while ear protection can insulate from loud noises.
    • Soldiers must also master how to load and wear a ruck before a road march.
    • They are likewise advised not to run while carrying a load to prevent lower back and shoulder injuries.
    • The training venue also plays an essential role in minimising physical injuries.
    • Experts recommend performing exercises, running, and jumping activities on softer surfaces.
    • Whenever possible, soldiers should avoid training on concrete floors.
  4. Cross train:
    • Since 2012, the Army has stopped prioritising running in order to give way to a more holistic, weekly fitness regimen that includes:
      • 300 minutes of moderate to intense aerobic activity.
      • Three strength-building sessions with a duration of 30-60 minutes each per session.
      • Different types of agility and balance drills.
    • Performing various activities targets all muscle groups and helps achieve physical fitness components (agility, strength, endurance, and coordination).
  5. Incorporate rest days:
    • Rest days are an essential part of any training programme.
    • After an extensive session, rest days provide ample time for muscles, bones, and joints to rebuild and strengthen themselves.
  6. Sustain with healthy diet:
    • A healthy diet with plenty of carbohydrates provides energy for extensive physical exercise. Protein-rich foods build muscle, while vegetables and fruits offer essential nutrients to bones and muscles.
  7. Hydrate with water:
    • Drinking water is crucial during training, but drinking is done in slow slips rather than in gulps to prevent muscle cramps and nausea.
    • It is also helpful to drink sports drinks to replace salts and electrolytes lost when sweating.

When to Seek Medical Help

While it is normal to feel pain and fatigue due to strenuous physical activity, recurring pain often requires medical attention. Getting a medical profile may cause you to miss out on several days of training. However, seeking professional help can prevent specific injuries from progressing into more severe injuries.

However, suppose your recourse for medical intervention is unmet, and you succumb to overuse injuries that may cause severe impairment. In that case, you can contact a personal injury attorney to inform them of your situation and obtain an assessment for possible personal injury claims due to Army training-related injuries.

Last Hurrah

Military training has become a tradition of enforcing discipline and ensure battle readiness in operational infantry soldiers. While it is possible to get injured due to rigid physical activity, being knowledgeable about how you can avoid these mishaps can help you finish your training and fulfil your dream to serve and defend the nation.


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