Common Military Injuries and Prevention
With the call of service for your country comes a few injuries throughout your time in the military. You’re getting used to a fitness regime or routine but mistakes and accidents can, and often do, happen.
Some situations are unavoidable but some injuries and illness can be prevented if you know prevention education. Even learning to control stress can make an enormous difference.
Military injuries are extremely common, such as knee injuries musculoskeletal issues, particularly during training. In fact, they range from six to 12 injuries a month for every 100 male recruits. With the help of simple prevention tactics, some of these injuries could have been avoided.
Though the risk of injury will always be there, we’re going to go over common active-duty military injuries for soldier and vets. Plus, we’re going to offer some injury prevention techniques you can use to protect yourself from some of these difficult injuries.
Common Injuries for Soldiers
There are numerous types of injuries that can occur in soldiers and that can develop years later as vets—whether they’re in training or they’re in the middle of combat and war.
These injuries, both large and small, are the most common injuries sustained by those in the military.
Ankle sprains, the most common type of musculoskeletalinjury in the lower limbs, is also one of the most common types of injuries in active duty soldiers.
It’s been found that ankle sprains are even more common in female soldiers than male soldiers, though no one is quite sure why this is.
Furthermore, if you have a history of a sprained ankle or ankle injuries, you’re more likely to sprain that same ankle from rigorous physical training or even recreational sports.
An ankle sprain occurs when your foot turns in an unnatural motion. The ligaments in your ankle are used to hold your ankle bones in place and keep you stabilized. However, these ligaments can only take a certain range of motion.
So, when your ankle gets twisted, these ligaments can stretch or tear which causes a sprained ankle.
Hearing Loss and Tinnitus
Hearing loss and tinnitus is one of the most common ailments that both active soldiers and vets suffer from.
Hearing loss and tinnitus are usually caused by prolonged exposure to loud noises in both training and from combat. For soldiers, this can be caused by working in the engine room on a ship or even just constant exposure to firearms being used.
Sensorineural hearing loss is the most diagnosed hearing loss and its permanent hearing damage. Sensorineural hearing loss makes sounds and noises sound muffled or even muzzled.This type of hearing loss means there’s damage to the soldier’s inner ear or damage to the nerve pathways. This prevents sound from traveling to the brain which causes the muffled sound.
Tinnitus is a ringing or buzzing in the ears caused by damage and exposure to loud noises too. Tinnitus can become debilitating at times for soldiers and vets.
Osteoarthritis is a widespread issue that affects thousands of soldiers and vets to even civilians. Out of every four military veterans, one is suffering from arthritis. Arthritis is also one of the main causes of medical discharge from the army.
Soldiers and vets are at a higher risk for osteoarthritis due to heavy lifting in basic training and during their service. There are also several combat risks that can increase a vet’s chance of developing arthritis.
Osteoarthritis is when your joints, cartilage,and ligaments are wearing away. There’s also inflammation in the affected joints.
This joint damage can’t be reversed but with the help of a doctor, the progression of arthritis can be slowed down and the pain managed.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
Traumatic brain injuries are one of the worst injuries that can happen to any soldier or vet in the U.S. Most of these brain injuries are from active duty and the chaos of combat.A traumatic brain injury is caused by complications or disruption in the brain’s normal functioning. This happens when your brain collides with your skull (when you bang your head severely or your brain tissue is penetrated by something.
Some TBIs are only temporary while the effects of others can last a lifetime. It will always vary from person to person.
For those serving in the military, most traumatic brain injuries are caused by either explosions or a heavy blow to the head. Over 313,816 soldiers and vets have been diagnosed with some type of TBIin either training or in war.
The symptoms of TBI differ for every individual as well as the severity of a brain injury. Some of the common symptoms include confusion, fatigue, headaches, irritability, impulsion, memory loss, trouble concentratingand sometimes even seizures.Initially, the symptoms of a traumatic brain injury are mistaken for behavioral issues, which leads to a delay in a proper diagnosis.
Tips to Prevent Injuries While Serving in the Military
Some injuries and ailments can’t be avoided no matter how hard you try. Fortunately, there are preventive steps you can take to protect yourself from injury while training or during active duty.
- Warm up: Warming up before serious training or exercise helps get your muscles moving and ready for intense workouts. Stretching beforehand ensures your muscles are loosened and ready for more.
- Cross Train: You need to switch up your exercise regime constantly. When you’re doing the same exercises every day, you’re going to wear out and tire the muscles being used everyday. This increases your risk of overuse injuries.
- Rest, Rest, Rest: Rest is your best friend when it comes to training. Recovery days are a must. When you exercise, your muscles suffer from microscopic tears to start the rebuild of your muscles. But these tears in your muscle tissue need time to heal. Otherwise, not resting can also increase overuse injuries. Making sure you get the right amount of rest can also help if you’ve received a TBI.
- Protect Yourself: You should always use any protection available to you. This can mean always wearing a helmet even if you’re just playing sports for fun, wearing earplugs whenever you’re around loud sounds for extended periods of time or even just wearing a seatbelt on any trip.
Soldiers and veterans in the US army are at higher risk for injuries, whether they’re short-term injuries or lengthy chronic injuries.
The best way to combat these injury stats is prevention education and being able to detect an injury that hasn’t been diagnosed.