Epidemiology and Financial Burden of Musculoskeletal Injuries as the Leading Health Problem in the Military

Captain Iris Dijksma, Marga Bekkers, Bea Spek, Cees Lucas, Martijn Stuiver

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12 Citations (Scopus)


Musculoskeletal injuries (MSIs) have direct impact on occupational readiness and task performance in military populations. Until this date, no epidemiologic data have been published concerning MSI incidence in the Netherlands Armed Forces (NAF). The aim of this study was to assess the MSI incidence and related costs in the NAF. Methods: In this descriptive epidemiologic study, we collected injury surveillance data from the electronic patient records of multiple military units of the NAF. Using data of all new consultations with a military physician from January 1, 2014 to December 31, 2016, we calculated MSI incidence rates per 100 person-years, with a 95% confidence interval (CI). Physician care costs were determined based on the number of physician consults and the charge per appointment. We used two methods to determine productivity costs; the top-down microcosting method and the friction cost method. Results: Our study sample included 22% (n = 8,847) of the total NAF population of 2016 (n =40,178). In this sample, consultations of MSIs accounted for 23.2% (n = 7,815) of all new consultations (n = 33,666). MSI incidence rates per unit ranged from 12.5 to53.3 per 100 person-years. In the total sample, MSI incidence rates were highest in the back (6.73, 95% CI 6.39-7.10), knee (5.04, 95% CI 4.74-5.35), and foot (4.79, 95% CI 4.50-5.10). The estimated costs for physician visits for MSIs in our sample were €0.69 million. Limited duty days accounted for €1.10 million productivity costs using top-down microcosting method. Conclusion: Our study provided evidence that MSIs result in substantial financial burden. Injuries of the back, knee, and foot account for the majority of demands on curative care for MSIs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e480-e486
JournalMilitary Medicine
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 2 Mar 2020

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