Overuse injuries among female combat warriors in the israeli defense forces: A cross-sectional study

Oren Schwartz, Itzik Malka, Cara H. Olsen, Israel Dudkiewicz, Tarif Bader

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Introduction: Integration of females in combat units poses a unique challenge for army commanders around the world. The purpose of this study is to provide a detailed up-to-date situation report regarding overuse injuries among combat female warriors in the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) in order to enable evidence-based decision-making, prevention policy, and further research of this highly significant military public health issue. Methods: A cross-sectional descriptive study was conducted including 2,519 females recruited to combat duties during the year of 2013. The main data source was the IDF's computerized medical consultation records package (CPR). Descriptive statistics was performed and some results were compared with males using data from other reports and studies of the IDF. Results: The overall injury rate was 28.3%. Of all injuries, 86% were in the ankle and calf (41%), the lower back (23%), and the knee (22%) regions. The average lost training days was 11 d for females as compared with 8 d for males. The overall rates of stress fractures and the rates of femur and femoral neck stress fractures were significantly higher among females as compared with males (11.2% vs. 2.5%, p = 0.0032, and 7.8% vs. 1.6% p = 0.00001, respectively). Conclusions: The overuse injury rates among females in the IDF are high and may be considered a significant military public health problem. In order to reduce the numbers of overuse injuries, which is expected to significantly increase after the IDF's policy change regarding to combat duties open for females, we recommend planning and implementation of policies and intervention programs and further research regarding to overuse injuries among female combat warriors with special focus on the calf and ankle, lower back, and knee regions and femoral stress fractures.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberusx238
Pages (from-to)E610-E616
JournalMilitary Medicine
Volume183
Issue number11-12
DOIs
StatePublished - 5 Nov 2018

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