The addition of body armor diminishes dynamic postural stability in military soldiers.
Poor postural stability has been identified as a risk factor for lower extremity musculoskeletal injury. The additional weight of body armor carried by Soldiers alters static postural stability and may predispose Soldiers to lower extremity musculoskeletal injuries. However, static postural stability tasks poorly replicate the dynamic military environment, which places considerable stress on the postural control system during tactical training and combat. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the effects of body armor on dynamic postural stability during single-leg jump landings. Thirty-six 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) Soldiers performed single-leg jump landings in the anterior direction with and without wearing body armor. The dynamic postural stability index and the individual stability indices (medial-lateral stability index, anterior-posterior stability index, and vertical stability index) were calculated for each condition. Paired sample t-tests were performed to determine differences between conditions. Significant differences existed for the medial-lateral stability index, anterior-posterior stability index, vertical stability index, and dynamic postural stability index (p < 0.05). The addition of body armor resulted in diminished dynamic postural stability, which may result in increased lower extremity injuries. Training programs should address the altered dynamic postural stability while wearing body armor in attempts to promote adaptations that will result in safer performance during dynamic tasks.
Sell, TC; Pederson, JJ; Abt, JP; Nagai, T; Deluzio, J; Wirt, MD; McCord, LJ; Lephart, SM
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