Injury Prevention for Active Duty Personnel

Last Updated: April 29, 2024
Skip Navigation LinksDCPH-A Home / Topics / Diseases & Conditions / Injury Prevention for Active Duty Personnel


​​​​​​​​​An injuryExternal Link is damage to a body caused by an external energy (e.g., acute o​r repeated mechanical traumas, environmental, biological, chemical, or electrical sources). Injuries that require a medical visit are captured in the Service members' electronic health record (EHR). Military public health experts analyze EHR and report statistics  by type of causal energy source (referred to as the "Taxonomy of Injuries​").External Link​ 

Chart showing Burden of Injuries summary by disease category, active duty Army 2018 KEY FACTS:​

  • Injuries are the leading reason for military medical visits across Services.
  • DOD Active-duty Service members require medical treatment for injuries almost 5 million times each year (for around 1.5 million individual injuries). 
  • There are 2 to 4 times more medical visits for injuries as the next most common reason which is behavioral and mental health. 
  • Injuries degrade force readiness through millions of lost duty and training days and billions of dollars annually. 
  • Majority (>2/3) of military injuries are musculoskeletal (MSK) cumulative mictrotraumatic (overuse) injuries.
  • Most common cause of acute injuries (fractures, sprains, strains) is accidental falls.
  • Most common cause of overuse injuries is excessive running, though can vary depending on unit mission and training. 
  • Fatal and severe unintentional military injuries are often due to motor-vehicles, heat, and cold weather​​
  • Prior heat-, cold-weather, or MSK injuries to a particular body region can predispose a person to a similar injury or long-term injury-related condition.

  • Reduce time loss to physical restrictions for work/training (temporary profile​)External Link 
  • Decrease costs (direct medical, compensation/disability, & lost duty time)
  • Improve overall performance (individual and unit)

  • Per November 2023 response to House Armed Service Committee: Almost 1.5M new injuries occur across the Services annually, resulting in 2.2 times more medical visits than the second leading visit type, behavioral health. Most injuries (69%) are MSK overuse injuries. Army data show MSK injuries account for 55% of annual limited duty days (8.7M days/year). Annual Army direct and indirect injury costs are around $2.7 to 4.7B; 85% of costs are for MSK overuse injuries.