Epidemic of Musculoskeletal Disorders in the Armed Forces

Musculoskeletal Disorders in the Armed Forces
 Epidemic of Musculoskeletal Disorders in the Armed Forces
Updated: In: Military

10% of Military Personal Medically Downgraded

Recent figures from the Health and Safety Executive reveal that from 2022 to 2023, 473,000 workers reported suffering from new or long-term work-related musculoskeletal disorders. Those in the armed forces are particularly prone to musculoskeletal disorders with around 10% of all Royal Navy and royal marine population are medically downgraded at any one time, meaning they are largely undeployable. Around half of those medically downgraded are suffering from musculoskeletal injuries. With the armed forces currently suffering from recruitment shortages, 10% of all personnel ‘sitting on the side-lines’ is not beneficial. As a result, the armed forces and Royal Navy are taking action to reverse this trend.

Dr Fallowfield from the Institute of Naval Medicine states: “We know that people are leaving the services because it’s not conducive to a healthy lifestyle, we know that people are leaving the services due to health conditions that could be prevented…we can do things better.”

Why is There a Rise in Musculoskeletal Disorders in the Armed Forces?

Today, military recruits are very different from those who signed up 20 years ago. A more inactive society has led to an epidemic of musculoskeletal injuries in the armed forces and Royal Navy. Recruits are typically less physically but more digitally minded than ever before. In the Navy, with high-tech kit now in operation, recruits need to be technically minded while also requiring a high standard of fitness. Failing to meet the required levels of fitness is resulting in many recruits acquiring injuries.

Furthermore, soldiers often carry heavy equipment and rucksacks, often straining muscles, and joints, leading to musculoskeletal disorders.

Finally, repetitive tasks such as military training exercises such as running, jumping and, lifting can cause musculoskeletal disorders over time.

When musculoskeletal disorders are not addressed promptly, they can worsen and lead to pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility. This can significantly impact a soldier’s ability to perform their duties safely. In severe cases, MSDs can cause accidents during training or deployment.

Military accident claims can be filed if a soldier sustains a musculoskeletal disorder due to service-related activities. If your doctor believes your musculoskeletal disorder was military-related, our expert military lawyers are here to stand by your side, offering comprehensive assistance and representation.

To find out if you can claim compensation give us a call on 0800 999 2220 or use our call-back request form.

Efforts to Reduce Musculoskeletal Disorders in the Armed Forces

The rise in musculoskeletal disorders is not just UK specific. Armed forces around the world are suffering from the same problem. As a result, scientists are coming together to try and solve it, with a current focus on HMS Raleigh, where many sailors begin their careers. These tests could become the norm for all future recruits.

Dr Joanne Fallowfield, told Forces News: “Historically we haven’t focused on this bit of kit – we haven’t focused on the person.

“There’s kind of an implicit understanding that they will pick up the knowledge and what they should be eating, how they should be training as they go through training.

“But actually, we haven’t made it explicit that this bit of kit is as important as all the other pieces of kit, this makes everything else function.”

This project aims to collect large amounts of data and then follow this cohort through tracking the recruits’ injuries. It is hoped that patterns will emerge, allowing injuries in future recruits to be predicted, so they can tailor training around each individual to prevent unnecessary injuries.

Lieutenant Colonel Erik Nielsen, a project lead at the Institute of Naval Medicine, states: It “might be something as easy as orthotics going in there or just a little bit extra strength training around a particular area for that individual.

“The start point is lower, potentially than what it was 10-15 years ago, so we need to ensure we understand that in the way we put our training programmes together and how we train the individuals, and we need to understand that from prevention of injury.”

“Collectively, all those assets put together, we’ll be able to deliver something for this generation of recruits going forward.”

Making a Military Injury Claim

At AWH, our solicitors specialise in offering legal assistance tailored specifically to those who have suffered from musculoskeletal disorders due to negligent health and safety standards.

Our team understand the challenges posed by musculoskeletal disorders in the armed forces. Our industrial disease solicitors are here to help you get the compensation you deserve after suffering from musculoskeletal disorders in the armed forces.

If your doctor believes your musculoskeletal disorder was caused by your military service, our expert advisors and legal representatives are here to stand by your side, offering comprehensive assistance and representation.

There are generally two main options for claiming military compensation. Our expert military lawyers can help you choose the right path:

  • Compensation Scheme (AFCS): This is a government program that provides compensation for injuries and illnesses sustained while serving in the armed forces.
  • Civil Law Claim: You can also consider making a civil law claim against the Ministry of Defence (MOD) if your MSD was caused by their negligence (failure to provide a safe environment).

To find out if you can claim compensation give us a call on 0800 999 2220 or use our call-back request form.

We will be able to give you a clear idea on the options you have in regard to making a claim during your initial consultation call.