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Royal Marines: Reducing injury in military training

Project lead: Dr Sharon Dixon

The Royal Marines are one of the most elite military forces in the world, with a particularly arduous training programme. Injury compromises the effectiveness of these troops and can have a high personal and financial cost.

Our programme of research over the last two decades has been crucial for reducing the cost of injury in this population by providing biomechanical evidence regarding risk factors for injury and developing interventions to reduce injury risk.

We have demonstrated how aspects of foot type and function are associated with risk of injury, leading to the routine measurement of biomechanical data to support the management of injury risk in this population (see publications 1, 2 and 3 below). Subsequent biomechanical studies have influenced the selection of standard issue footwear for the Royal Marines (publication 4).

Wider applications for this research

This systematic approach to the identification of risk factors for injury to inform the development of interventions can be applied to other exercising populations. For example, we are currently working in partnership with the Exeter Chiefs Rugby Union squad to perform a similar series of studies.

Related publications

  1. Dixon S, Nunns M, House C, Rice H, Mostazir M, Stiles V, Davey T, Fallowfield J, Allsopp A (2018). Prospective study of biomechanical risk factors for second and third metatarsal stress fractures in military recruits. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 22(2), 135-139. DOI.
  2. Nunns MP, House CM, Rice H, Mostazir M, Davey P, Stiles V, Fallowfield J, Allsopp A, Dixon SJ (2016). Four biomechanical and anthropometric measures predict tibial stress fracture: A prospective study of 1065 Royal Marines. British Journal of Sports Medicine. DOI.
  3. Rice HM, Nunns M, House C, Fallowfield J, Allsopp A, Dixon S (2016). A narrow bimalleolar width is a risk factor for ankle inversion injury in male military recruits: a prospective study. Clinical Biomechanics. DOI.
  4. Nunns M, Stiles V, Dixon S (2012). The effects of standard issue Royal Marine recruit footwear on risk factors associated with third metatarsal stress fractures. Footwear Science. DOI
  5. Dixon, S., Rice, H., Carden, P., Patel, M., Han, S., Hales, R., Davey, P., Fallowfield, J. (2017). Changes in lower limb biomechanics and metatarsal stress fracture with different military boots. Footwear Science. DOI.
  6. Rice H, Fallowfield J, Allsopp A, Dixon S (2017). Influence of a 12.8-km military load carriage activity on lower limb gait mechanics and muscle activity. Ergonomics, 60(5), 649-656. DOI.