Military training includes performing repetitive high-risk movements and intense routines involving jumping, running and marching with weights on different terrains and conditions. All these activities can take a toll on the body.
Overuse injuries, especially of the lower body, are commonly reported in the military population. With a weak foot posture and abnormal lower body movements, the risk of such injuries may increase. Let’s find out how military training impacts the lower body and what treatment, rehab and supportive care options are available.
Military recruits with a weak foot posture may be at a greater risk of developing acute and/or overuse injuries. If a foot posture problem is left untreated for an extended period of time, it may lead to the development of conditions such as plantar fasciitis, IT band syndrome; this can also cause pain in the knees, hips and lower back.
A 2010 study on infantry soldiers in the Indian armed forces outlined how carrying military loads of varying intensity affected their walking stride. Increases in step length, stride length and tempo were established with the addition of load.
The knees and hips of the soldiers were observed to bend more during foot strike to help absorb the impact of the load. The torso was found to lean forward with the addition of load to stabilise the body. This helped minimise energy loss and increase walking efficiency.
A study in the Journal of Athletic Training determined the effectiveness of the Dynamic Integrated Movement Enhancement (DIME) warm-ups in reducing risk of lower body injuries, particularly knee injuries, in military academy cadets. It identified that DIME warm-ups were most effective when carried out under supervision, as performing these exercises incorrectly could expose cadets to common military training injuries.
An examination of foot posture and walking stride can help protect recruits from potential injuries by identifying the impact of feet on the rest of the body. According to a study conducted by Biosciences Biotechnology Research Asia on military recruits, foot insoles can help reduce pain in the feet as well as the intensity of injury.
MASS4D® insoles can be included in training programmes and as part of supportive care offered by health care professionals.
These insoles reduce the risk of injury by promoting optimal distribution of weight to the feet and reducing stress on the knees, hips and lower back. In addition to this, MASS4D® insoles help promote lower body alignment to restore proper function and movement.
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Reference: Carow, S. D., Haniuk, E. M., Cameron, K. L., Padua, D. A., Marshall, S. W., DiStefano, L. J., de la Motte, S. J., Beutler, A. I., Gerber, J. P. (2016) Risk of Lower Extremity Injury in a Military Cadet Population After a Supervised Injury-Prevention
Program. Journal of Athletic Training: November 2016, Vol. 51, No. 11, pp. 905-918. doi: 10.4085/1062-6050-49.5.22
Reference: Hesarikia, H., Nazemian, S. S., Rasouli, H. R., Kazemi, H. M. (2014) Effect of Foot Orthoses on Ankle and Foot Injuries in Military Service Recruits: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Biosciences Biotechnology Research Asia: December 2014, Vol. 11, No. 3, pp. 1141-1148. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.13005/bbra/1499
Reference: Majumdar, D., Pal, M. S., Majumdar, D. (2010) Effects of military load carriage on kinematics of gait. Ergonomics: June 2010, Vol. 53, No. 6, pp. 782-791. DOI: 10.1080/00140131003672015
Pilates refers to a series of exercises that target the core – the abdomen, obliques, lower back, inner and outer thigh, and so on. The movements involved in pilates also help to improve flexibility and posture while promoting core stability.