Typical Injuries Associated with Physical Training
Common injuries associated with exercise
are the following:
Abrasion (strawberry) - the rubbing
off of skin by friction.
Dislocation - "the displacement
of one or more bones of a joint from their natural positions.
Hot spot - a hot or irritated feeling
of the skin which occurs just before a blister forms. These can
be prevented by using petroleum jelly over friction-prone areas.
Blister - a raised spot on the skin
filled with liquid. These can generally be avoided by applying
lubricants such as petroleum jelly to areas of friction, keeping
footwear (socks, shoes, boots) in good repair, and wearing the
proper size of boot or shoe.
Shinsplints - a painful injury to
the soft tissues and bone in the shin area. These are generally
caused by wearing shoes with inflexible soles or inadequate shock
absorption, running on the toes or on hard surfaces, and/or having
calf muscles with a limited range of motion.
Sprain - a stretching or tearing
of the ligament(s) at a joint.
Muscle spasm (muscle cramp) - a sudden,
involuntary contraction of one or more muscles.
Contusion - a bruise with bleeding
into the muscle tissue.
Strain - a stretching or tearing
of the muscles.
Bursitis - an inflammation of the
bursa (a sack-like structure where tendons pass over bones). This
occurs at a joint and produces pain when the joint is moved or
touched. Sometimes swelling occurs.
Tendonitis - an inflammation of a
tendon that produces pain when the attached muscle contracts.
Swelling may not occur. Stress fractures of the feet.
Tibial stress fractures - overuse
injuries which seem like shinsplints except that the pain is in
a specific area.
Knee injuries - caused by running
on uneven surfaces or with worn out shoes, overuse, and improper
body alignment. Soldiers who have problems with their knees can
benefit from doing leg exercises that strengthen the front (quadriceps)
and rear (hamstrings) thigh muscles.
Low back problems - caused by poor
running, sitting, or lifting techniques, and by failing to stretch
the back and hip-flexor muscles and to strengthen the abdominal
The most common running injuries
occur in the feet, ankles, knees, and legs. Although they are
hard to eliminate, much can be done to keep them to a minimum.
Preventive measures include proper warm-up and cool-down along
with stretching exercises. Failure to allow recovery between hard
bouts of running can lead to overtraining and can also be a major
cause of injuries. A well-conditioned soldier can run five to
six times a week. However, to do this safely, he should do two
things: gradually build up to running that frequently and vary
the intensity of the running sessions to allow recovery between
Many running injuries can be
prevented by wearing proper footwear.
Soldiers should train in running shoes. These are available in
a wide range of prices and styles. They should fit properly and
have flexible, multi-layered soles with good arch and heel support.
Shoes made with leather and nylon uppers are usually the most
comfortable. See Appendix E for more information on running shoes.
Since injuries can also be caused
by running on hard surfaces, soldiers should, if possible, avoid
running on concrete. Soft, even surfaces are best for injury prevention.
Whenever possible, soldiers should run on grass paths, dirt paths,
or park trails. However, with adequate footwear and recovery periods,
running on roads and other hard surfaces should pose no problem.
Common running injuries include the
Stress fractures of the feet.
Ankle sprains and fractures. Achilles
tendonitis (caused by improper stretching and shoes that do not
Upper leg and groin injuries (which
can usually be prevented by using good technique in stretching
and doing strengthening exercises).
Tibial stress fractures, knee injuries,
low back problems, shinsplints, and blisters, which were mentioned
earlier, are also injuries which commonly occur in runners.
Back to Injuries and Prevention
Buy The Book This Site Is Based On
U.S. Army Field Manual 21-20 is the source material for this website. A soldier's level of physical fitness has a direct impact on his combat readiness. The many battles in which American troops have fought under-score the important role physical fitness plays on the battlefield. The renewed nationwide interest in fitness has been accompanied by many research studies on the effects of regular participation in sound physical fitness programs. The overwhelming conclusion is that such programs enhance a person's quality of life, improve productivity, and bring about positive physical and mental changes. Not only are physically fit soldiers essential to the Army, they are also more likely to have enjoyable, productive lives, and you can too.