Keeping Her “Army Strong”: Musculoskeletal Injuries in Military Women

Guest blogger, GPO Public Relations Specialist Emma Wojtowicz, reviews a new publication addressing the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of musculoskeletal injuries in women serving in the Army and National Guard.

The transition in the 1970’s from a drafted military to a volunteer-based military opened up more opportunities for women to join the military and serve in different capacities. As of September 2010, women account for 14% of active duty service members and 18% of Reserve and National Guard service members. With the opportunity to serve comes the risk of being injured.

Musculoskeletal Injuries in Military Women by the United States Army Borden Institute focuses on risk factors, prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of musculoskeletal injuries in women. This is the most recently released publication of the Borden Institute Monograph Series.

This publication is slim and targeted to a specific audience of the medical community, military, and those afflicted by the described injuries, including athletes and soldiers alike. It is of particular value to those who work with this sort of injury, from diagnosis to treatment to rehabilitation, including physical therapists, orthopedists and sports medicine professionals, both civilian and military.

According to the publication, women serving in the Army have a higher incidence of injury compared to men due to the female anatomy and physiology. More women become injured during the Army’s basic combat training and associated activities compared to men and their female counterparts in the Air Force and Navy.

Image: Female soldiers negotiate obstacles during the U.S. Army Special Operations Command’s cultural support program which prepares all-female Soldier teams to serve as enablers supporting Army special operations combat forces in and around secured objective areas. The Army is working to improve women’s health throughout the Army, thus contributing to force readiness. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Russell Klika, USAJFKSWCS. Source: Soldiers Magazine)

Overuse injuries, primarily in the bone and tendons, account for 75 percent of women’s injuries from activities like running, marching, and repetitive jumping. The book’s authors identify running shoes as the most important equipment during training to prevent injury and give advice on how to select the right running shoe (See image below).

Musculoskeletal Injuries in Military Women thoroughly and succinctly details each potential musculoskeletal injury. The musculoskeletal system provides form, support, stability, and movement to the body. The injury descriptions are broken down by risk factors, prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation. Most injury descriptions are accompanied by detailed instructions and pictures showing what the injury looks like, ways to test for the injury, and appropriate therapeutic exercises.

The content of the publication is not limited only to only military women, but can be beneficial to female athletes and physically active women who suffer from the described injuries and require physical therapy or rehabilitation.

Military injuries, whether suffered by men or women, have an effect on the readiness of the military and force levels. Musculoskeletal Injuries in Military Women reminds readers that injury is possible at any time, not only in combat.

HOW DO I OBTAIN Musculoskeletal Injuries in Military Women?

  • Buy it online 24/7 at GPO’s Online Bookstore.
  • Buy it at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday-Friday, 9am to 4pm, except Federal holidays, (202) 512-0132.
  • Find it in a library.

Other Titles about Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy

You may also be interested in the Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development.  This journal is known in the industry as the JRRD and is an international, peer-reviewed rehabilitation research journal sponsored by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The JRRD accepts original manuscripts from domestic and international researchers on a broad range of topics, including assistive technology, cognitive disorders, rehabilitation, prosthetics, SCI, traumatic brain injury, and telemedicine, and more.

The JRRD is available via subscription from the U.S. Government Printing Office in two formats:

1) Print Journal: Buy a year’s subscription to the JRRD from our GPO Online Bookstore

2) Digital Journal:  The electronic subscription (ISSN: 0748-7711) for tablets, desktop computers and smartphones can be purchased through our e-magazine partner,

6 Responses to Keeping Her “Army Strong”: Musculoskeletal Injuries in Military Women

  1. az001 says:

    Women already have shown they can overcome bias and sexism, as well as engage the enemy — they’ve been doing it in Iraq and Afghanistan. But on average, they have less body weight and are weaker than men.


  2. Robert Q. Hall says:

    Great article. I am experiencing a few of these issues
    as well..


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  4. MSG Connolly says:

    Reviewer and guest blogger, GPO Public Relations Specialist Emma Wojtowicz, writes in her review of “Musculoskeletal Injuries in Military Women”: The transition in the 1970’s from a drafted military to a volunteer-based military….”

    The United States has never had a “drafted military”. The highest proportion of draftees to volunteers was undoubtedly during WWII when two-thirds of those serving from the so-called Greatest Generation had to be drafted to serve.

    During the Vietnam War this was reversed, with two-thirds of those serving being volunteers. Ironically, the quality of the units which were first sent to Vietnam, comprised of volunteers and draftees, was probably as high as at anytime in the history of the U.S. Army, draft or no draft.

    The reviewer’s comment is not just inaccurate. It is somewhat insulting to those who primary motivation for volunteering, at a time of low pay and few benefits, was patriotism. For the past decade, “patriotism” has not been listed as a primary reason for enlistment, according to the Army’s own studies.


  5. […] Why do women soldiers experience more injuries than men? How can a “wet test” help you choose the right running shoe? Plus, physical therapy diagnosis, treatment and advice for any women with sports or training injuries in our review of Musculoskeletal Injuries in Military Women on GPO’s Government Book Talk blog: […]


  6. armansyahardanis says:

    Much Judgments : Women’s Natural Characteristic.-

    Those are needed by the Military or Civilian Leaders. After fields practices, the women could be lead troops or society or community or country with their experiences, especially to develop “eu de corps” similarly they bring up the children………


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