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General Description

An overuse injury is any kind of joint or muscle injury, like a stress fracture or tendinitis that happens from repetitive micro-trauma to the joints, tendons, and bones, which results in injuries like tennis elbow, runner’s knee, shin splints, and achilles tendinitis.

Overuse injuries are quite a bit more common than acute injuries but harder to diagnose and treat because they are subtle, and occur overtime.

Causes

The cause of an overuse injury is fairly obvious, occurring from a wrong movement being done over and over again. This can happen from training errors, like taking on too much physical activity too fast, exercising for too long, doing too much of one type of exercise, or even going too fast. Overuse injuries can also happen from using improper techniques when doing a specific type of throw or movement. By using poor form when performing training exercises, it is very possible to overload certain muscles, and ultimately cause an injury from overuse.

Overuse injuries can happen to anyone, but if you play certain sports, or are getting older, the chances of this happening can increase. Its important to remember the impacts of aging on your body and adjust any existing routine to your abilities. It may be wise to talk to your doctor before you start any new activity or make your current routine more challenging. They may be able to help with tips on how to make it work better for you.

 

Typical Treatment

Treatment of the overuse injury will change depending on where the injury happened, as well as how serious it is. Some injuries can be helped with rest, and pain medicine. Others may require more serious treatment, or even surgery. You will likely be advised to cut back on the intensity of your workouts, or simply change it up to maintain a balance between challenging your body but also giving it time to rest. Sports medicine specialists can be very helpful in creating a detailed plan for your specific needs. This can include physical therapy and athletic training services.

 

How to Prevent it

Overuse injuries are mostly easily preventable, if you get into the habit of being tuned to your body’s needs. Proper training and common sense go a long way in helping you stay away from these types of injuries. Generally, you should not increase any training program more than 10 percent for every week (including the distance you are going, and weight being lifted). This will allow your body to adjust to any changes and learn to keep up with you, as well as be able to correctly recover each day.

It’s also very important to remember to warm up and cool down before and after any activity. By increasing your existing flexibility, training your muscles, and maintaining a strong core, you will be working hand in hand with your body to prevent these injuries.

Be sure to only return to your regular routine once you have been given the clear signal from your health care professional.