Knapik JJ. 14(4). 131 - 135. (Journal Article)
Since the beginning of recorded history, Soldiers have carried arms and equipment on their bodies. More recently, loads have substantially increased, driven by improvements in weapons technology and personal protection. As Soldier loads increase, there are increases in energy cost, altered gait mechanics, increased stress on the musculoskeletal system, and more rapid fatigue, factors that may increase the risk of injury. Common injuries and symptoms experienced by Soldiers on load-carriage missions include foot blisters, metatarsalgia, knee problems, and back problems. This article discusses these problems, providing diagnoses, injury mechanisms, and preventive measures. In general, lighter loads, improving load distribution, using appropriate physical training, selecting proper equipment, and using specific prevention techniques will facilitate load carriage and provide Special Operations Forces with a higher probability of mission success.