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Journal of Sports Medicine
Volume 2014, Article ID 282980, 5 pages
Clinical Study

Incidence and Time to Return to Training for Stress Fractures during Military Basic Training

1Institute of Naval Medicine, Alverstoke, Hants PO12 2DL, UK
2Commando Training Centre Royal Marines, Lympstone, Devon EX8 5AR, UK
3Royal Army Medical Corps, Sandhurst GU15 4PQ, UK

Received 29 June 2013; Accepted 12 December 2013; Published 21 January 2014

Academic Editor: Randy J. Schmitz

Copyright © 2014 Alexander M. Wood et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Currently, little is known about the length of time required to rehabilitate patients from stress fractures and their return to preinjury level of physical activity. Previous studies have looked at the return to sport in athletes, in a general population, where rehabilitation is not as controlled as within a captive military population. In this study, a longitudinal prospective epidemiological database was assessed to determine the incidence of stress fractures and the time taken to rehabilitate recruits to preinjury stage of training. Findings demonstrated a background prevalence of 5% stress fractures in Royal Marine training; femoral and tibial stress fractures take 21.1 weeks to return to training with metatarsal stress fractures being the most common injury taking 12.2 weeks. Rehabilitation from stress fractures accounts for 814 weeks of recruit rehabilitation time per annum. Stress fracture incidence is still common in military training; despite this stress fracture recovery times remain constant and represent a significant interruption in training. It takes on average 5 weeks after exercise specific training has restarted to reenter training at a preinjury level, regardless of which bone has a stress fracture. Further research into their prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation is required to help reduce these burdens.