An overuse injury is any type of muscle or joint injury that occurs due to a repetitive stress, strain, or injury. Though they can happen to anyone, overuse injuries become more prominent as you get older. If you’re beginning a new exercise regiment or recovering from an existing injury, you need to take care to prevent and avoid overuse injuries from occurring.
Common Causes of Overuse Injuries
Tendinitis, stress fractures, carpal tunnel, and other repetitive injuries are all examples of overuse injuries. Overuse injuries that occur during exercise are generally caused by two different things: training errors, like neglecting to stretch or overdoing it, and technique errors, such as poor form during a golf swing or in throwing a baseball.
Preexisting problems like knock-knees, poor arching, or body misalignments can exacerbate and aggravate overuse injuries. Many people with “weak links” from old injuries or incompletely healed injuries are at risk for developing overuse injuries.
Treating Overuse Injuries
Icing affected areas after an activity can reduce inflammation, but the best way to treat an overuse injury is to train in a safe and healthy way. That means both warming up before exercising and “cooling down” afterwards.
When taking on a new training program or exercise, you should limit your increases or gains to about 10% each week. Going too hard, too fast can cause problems, so giving your body a rest as it adjusts to a new routine will help reduce the potential for injury. Ask a trainer or physical therapist what exercises you can do to strengthen affected areas and minimize your risk for re-injury. Core strengthening, weight training, and aerobic exercises can help offset the affects of overuse injuries.
Are you recovering from an injury or currently suffering from an overuse injury? The physical therapists at 5focus can assess your needs and create a customized treatment plan to help you live and feel better for years to come. Learn more about our philosophy or make an appointment for a risk-free physical therapy assessment and experience the difference for yourself.