The effects of military body armour on trunk and hip kinematics during performance of manual handling tasks
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Musculoskeletal injuries are reported as burdening the military. An identified risk factor for injury is carrying heavy loads; however, soldiers are also required to wear their load as body armour. To investigate the effects of body armour on trunk and hip kinematics during military-specific manual handling tasks, 16 males completed 3 tasks while wearing each of 4 body armour conditions plus a control. Three-dimensional motion analysis captured and quantified all kinematic data. Average trunk flexion for the weightiest armour type was higher compared with control during the carry component of the ammunition box lift (p?<?0.001) and sandbag lift tasks (p?<?0.001). Trunk rotation ROM was lower for all armour types compared with control during the ammunition box place component (p?<?0.001). The altered kinematics with body armour occurred independent of armour design. In order to optimise armour design, manufacturers need to work with end-users to explore how armour configurations interact with range of personal and situational factors in operationally relevant environments. Practitioner Summary: Musculoskeletal injuries are reported as burdening the military and may relate to body armour wear. Body armour increased trunk flexion and reduced trunk rotation during military-specific lifting and carrying tasks. The altered kinematics may contribute to injury risk, but more research is required.
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