Bra-body armour integration, breast discomfort and breast injury associated with wearing body armour

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This study investigated whether female soldiers experience bra integration or breast discomfort/injuries related to body armour use and whether these issues were associated with breast size. Ninety-seven Australian Defence Force female soldiers completed a questionnaire and had their breast volume assessed (range: 91–919 ml/breast) using three-dimensional scanning. Twenty-two percent (n = 21) of participants reported integration issues between their bra and body armour, 63% (n = 61) reported breast discomfort while wearing body armour and 27% (n = 26) reported experiencing a breast injury related to wearing body armour. Although bra-body armour integration was not dependent upon breast size, female soldiers with medium-large breasts reported significantly more breast discomfort and injuries when using body armour compared to participants with small breasts. These findings highlight the importance of developing body armour systems that cater to the range of breast sizes of female soldiers in order to improve bra-body armour integration and reduce breast discomfort and injury. Practitioner summary: This exploratory research provides evidence of bra integration issues, breast discomfort and breast injury experienced by female soldiers when wearing body armour. Given the growing representation of women in military organisations, strategies to alleviate these issues for female users of body armour, particularly those with larger breast sizes, are required.

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