Self-reported load carriage injuries of military soldiers
The aim of this study was to investigate whether occupational load carriage constitutes a significant source of injury to military soldiers. An online survey was sent to soldiers serving in specific Australian Army Corps known to experience the greatest occupational exposure to load carriage. Of the 338 respondents, 34% sustained at least one load carriage injury. Fifty-two per cent of those injured during initial training reported sustaining an additional load carriage injury. The majority of injuries (61%) were to the lower limbs with bones and joints the most frequently injured body structures (39%). Endurance marching (continuous marching as part of a physical training session) was the activity accounting for most (38%) injuries. Occupational load carriage is associated with military soldier injuries and, once injured, soldiers are at a high risk of future load carriage injury. The bodily sites and nature of self-reported injuries in this study are akin to those of formally reported injuries and those of other militaries.