Predicting Load Carriage Injury Risk in Recreational Hikers

Daniel Maupin, Monica Mikhail, Ben Schram, Rob Marc Orr

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Aim: To investigate if an equation can be used to predict load carriage injury risk in recreational hikers and hiking guides

Design: A prospective cohort study

Method: Participants (n = 31; age = 41.8±15.4 years, mass = 67.7±12.8kg) for this study were recruited through purposive sampling from a recreational hiking company. Surveys, prior to and after a multiple day hike, were administered investigating current fitness levels, loads carried, body weight and injuries.
Individual hike performance data were entered into a modified load carriage energy cost equation to determine the %VO2max work effort (M = 1.5 W + 2.0 (W + L)(L/W)2 + ƞ(W + L)[1.5 V2 + 0.35 VG]+ V2(0.015LH2+0.064LF2)) and the survey data applied to inform a risk management framework level of injury
risk matrix (very low, low, medium, high or very high risk). Predictions were then compared to actual results.

Results: Mean predicted work effort was 40.9 (±6.5) %VO2max). Seven participants were classified as ‘low risk’ and the remaining 24 as ‘medium risk’. None of the participants deemed to be ‘low risk’ suffered an injury, while five of the 24 (20.8%) of the ‘medium risk’ group suffered an injury.

Conclusion: A modified load carriage equation, could successfully predict successful completion of a recreation hike but with limited sensitivity.
Key Practice Points:
• This load carriage equation could be used in recreational hiking populations, as well as other occupations which require load carriage, to screen for injury risk prior to a load carriage event or as part of return-to-work rehabilitation.

Proposed impact, if any, on the health outcomes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people: The results of this research are likely to have no greater impact on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population above that of the non-Indigenous population
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 17 Oct 2019
EventTRANSFORM 2019 Physiotherapy Conference - Adelaide Convention Centre, Adelaide, Australia
Duration: 17 Oct 201919 Oct 2019 (Book of Abstracts)


ConferenceTRANSFORM 2019 Physiotherapy Conference
Abbreviated titleAPA
Internet address


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