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Self-reported musculoskeletal complaints and injuries and exposure of physical workload in Swedish soldiers serving in Afghanistan
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Community Medicine and Rehabilitation, Physiotherapy. Karolinska Institutet, Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society, Division of Physiotherapy, Huddinge, Sweden.
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2018 (English)In: PLoS ONE, ISSN 1932-6203, E-ISSN 1932-6203, Vol. 13, no 4, article id e0195548Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background: Musculoskeletal complaints and injuries (MSCI) are common in military populations. However, only a limited number of studies have followed soldiers during international deployments and investigated the prevalence of MSCI during and at the end of their deployment. The aim was to describe the prevalence of MSCI in different military occupational specialties and categorise their most common tasks in terms of exposures to physical workloads during a six-month long international deployment in Afghanistan. Methods: Cross-sectional survey, including 325 soldiers (300 men), aged 20-62 participating in an international deployment in Afghanistan during the spring of 2012. Soldiers were clustered into different military occupational specialties: Infantry, Administration, Logistics, Logistics/Camp, Medical and Other. Data were collected through the use of the Musculoskeletal Screening Protocol at the end of the international mission. Results: Forty-seven percent reported MSCI during deployment, with 28% at the end. The most common locations of MSCI during the mission were lower back, knee, shoulders, upper back, neck and foot, while the knee and lower back prevailed at the end of the mission. Almost half of the soldiers who had MSCI reported affected work ability. The most common duties during the mission were vehicle patrolling, staff duties, guard/security duties, foot patrols and transportation. Soldiers reported that vehicle patrolling, staff duties and transportation were demanding with respect to endurance strength, guard/security duties challenged both maximum and endurance strength while foot patrolling challenged maximum and endurance strength, aerobic and anaerobic endurance and speed. Conclusions: MSCI during international deployment are common among Swedish soldiers. The results indicate the need to further develop strategies focusing on matching the soldiers' capacity to the job requirements, with relevant and fair physical selection-tests during the recruitment process and proactive interventions targeting MSCI before and during deployment, in order to enhance soldiers' readiness and promote operational readiness.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Public library science , 2018. Vol. 13, no 4, article id e0195548
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Physiotherapy
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URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-147305DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0195548ISI: 000429206800100PubMedID: 29621324OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-147305DiVA, id: diva2:1210319
Available from: 2018-05-28 Created: 2018-05-28 Last updated: 2018-06-09Bibliographically approved

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Tegern, Matthias

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