ABSTRACT: The purpose of this review is to summarize current trends and rehabilitation programs for musculoskeletal injuries in military personnel returning from deployment.
Musculoskeletal injuries (MSIs) are the leading healthcare problem for military members. Risk factors include participation in sports, carrying heavy loads, older age, female sex, standing for long periods of time, and walking long distances. MSIs may lead to medical discharge from the military. Physical and occupational therapists work at the Combat Support Hospitals to provide rehabilitation care to injured personnel and reduce recovery time by 60% and costs by 123%. The Army Medical Department has developed initiatives to decrease the burden of MSI: musculoskeletal screening and referral tools to assist military medical providers in managing patients with MSI; Pain Management Task Force to optimize care for wounded soldiers; Musculoskeletal Action Plan for injury prevention, early diagnosis and management, and rehabilitation/reintegration following injury; and Musculoskeletal Action Teams to work with military recruits who make up the largest subgroup in the Army with the highest incidence of MSIs.
The US Military is aware of the inherent risks for MSI associated with military training and repeated combat deployments. Rehabilitation efforts have been developed to address the problem.
Current opinion in rheumatology 03/2012; 24(2):232-6. · 4.60 Impact Factor