Effects of deployment on musculoskeletal and physiological characteristics and balance

Takashi Nagai, John P. Abt, Timothy C. Sell, Karen A. Keenan, Mark A. McGrail, Brian W. Smalley, Scott M. Lephart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Despite many nonbattle injuries reported during deployment, few studies have been conducted to evaluate the effects of deployment on musculoskeletal and physiological characteristics and balance. A total of 35 active duty U.S. Army Soldiers participated in laboratory testing before and after deployment to Afghanistan. The following measures were obtained for each Soldier: shoulder, trunk, hip, knee, and ankle strength and range of motion (ROM), balance, body composition, aerobic capacity, and anaerobic power/capacity. Additionally, Soldiers were asked about their physical activity and load carriage. Paired t tests or Wilcoxon tests with an α = 0.05 set a priori were used for statistical analyses. Shoulder external rotation ROM, torso rotation ROM, ankle dorsiflexion ROM, torso rotation strength, and anaerobic power significantly increased following deployment (p < 0.05). Shoulder extension ROM, shoulder external rotation strength, and eyes-closed balance (p < 0.05) were significantly worse following deployment. The majority of Soldiers (85%) engaged in physical activity. In addition, 58% of Soldiers reported regularly carrying a load (22 kg average). The deployment-related changes in musculoskeletal and physiological characteristics and balance as well as physical activity and load carriage during deployment may assist with proper preparation with the intent to optimize tactical readiness and mitigate injury risk.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1050-1057
Number of pages8
JournalMilitary Medicine
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Association of Military Surgeons of the U.S. All rights reserved.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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