Objectives To record and analyse the injuries and conditions requiring referral to the Colchester Garrison Sports Injury and Rehabilitation Centre over a three year period, with special reference to type and site of injury, aetiology, and outcome.
Methods An ongoing prospective study in which data on the diagnosis, cause of injury, and treatment of all patients referred to the Centre was coded and stored on a database. A total of seventeen variables were recorded.
Subjects All patients were trained, serving soldiers in the British Army referred via their General Practitioner to the Sports Injury and Rehabilitation Centre.
Results A total of 3921 referrals were made over the three-year period. The most common specific condition seen was low back pain (22.2%) followed by sprain of the ankle (15.1%). Lower limb conditions, both overuse and traumatic, accounted for over half (55.8%) of all referrals. Military training was the most common cause of all conditions (35.2%) followed by organised or personal sport (28.5%). In addition to medical treatment and physiotherapy, 30% of patients required formal rehabilitation.
Conclusions This is the first full review of the data collected by the Sports Injury and Rehabilitation Centre. It defines the injury patterns for trained soldiers rather than military recruits. Low back pain is identified as a major cause of morbidity in this population. The review serves as a benchmark in the planning of injury prevention strategies and the establishment of future rehabilitation services.
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