Soldiers routinely conduct load carriage and physical training to meet occupational requirements. These tasks are physically arduous and are believed to be the primary cause of musculoskeletal injury. Physical training can help mitigate injury risk when specifically designed to address injury mechanisms and meet task demands. This study aimed to assess lower-limb biomechanics and neuromuscular adaptations during load carriage walking in response to a 10-week evidence-based physical training program. Thirteen male civilian participants donned 23 kg and completed 5 km of load carriage treadmill walking, at 5.5 km h−1 before and after a 10-week physical training program. Three-dimensional motion capture and force plate data were acquired in over-ground walking trials before and after treadmill walking. These data were inputs to a musculoskeletal model which estimated lower-limb joint kinematics and kinetics (i.e., moments and powers) using inverse kinematics and dynamics, respectively. A two-way analysis of variance revealed significant main effect of training for kinematic and kinetics parameters at the knee and ankle joints (p < 0.05). Post-Hoc comparisons demonstrated a significant decrease (4.2%) in total negative knee power between pre- and post-March 5 km measures after training (p < 0.05). Positive power contribution shifted distally after training, increasing at the post-march measure from 39.9% to 43.6% at the ankle joint (p < 0.05). These findings demonstrate that a periodised training program may reduce injury risk through favourable ankle and knee joint adaptations.
- Joint mechanics
- Load carriage