Objectives To record and analyse those injuries and conditions requiring referral to a military sports injury and rehabilitation centre over a three year period, with special reference to gender, type and site of injury, and the cause of the injury.
Methods A prospective study in which data on the gender, diagnosis, and cause of injury, of all patients referred to the Colchester Garrison Sports Injury and Rehabilitation Centre was recorded. All subjects were trained, serving soldiers in the British Army referred via their General Practitioner.
Results Low back pain (OR 2.71, p<0.0001) and injuries to the hip, thigh and lower leg (OR 2.33, p<0.0001) were more frequent in female soldiers. Military training (OR 4.62, p<0.0001), work (OR 2.53, p<0.0001), recreation (OR 2.39, p<0.0001), and pre-existing conditions (OR 4.2, p<0.0001) were the causes most commonly cited by female rather than male soldiers. There was no statistical gender difference for sport related or road traffic accident injuries.
Conclusions Female soldiers are more likely to sustain an injury than their male counterparts. Specific injuries account for the majority of this difference. Military training, work, and recreation are more likely to be the cause of injury in the female soldier. Conditions existing prior to military service were also more common. There was no gender difference in the injuries caused by sport or road traffic accidents. These results may act as a basis for targeted intervention in order to reduce inequality without reducing overall training standards.
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