Firefighter clothing is known to restrict movement and increase the risk of musculoskeletal injury. The aim of this study was to investigate differences between clothing variations and firefighter mobility. Data were collected from eight firefighters using a randomized counterbalanced, repeated measures, design. Three different clothing variants (V1–V3) in addition to current station wear (S) were trialed. Combinations of S and V1 (SV1) and V2 (SV2) were also trialed. Outcome measures included: standing reach height; the Functional Movement Screen [FMS]; vertical jump; a visual analogue scale [VAS] for the FMS, vertical jump, step ups and crawl; and a mannequin sketch to mark areas of discomfort. V3 was preferred over S in all tasks and performed better both objectively (FMS and vertical jump) and subjectively (VAS scores). While V1 was typically associated with poorer performance, the impacts of V1 and V2 when compared to each other and S varied depending on the tasks performed. This variation was greater when V1 or V2 were worn with S (SV1 and SV2). Areas of discomfort across all variations was the knees, followed by the thighs. Clothing that has the least impact on, or improves, mobility (especially around the lower limbs) may help reduce firefighter injury and limit subjective discomfort.
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