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How to Prevent Common Overuse Injuries

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How to Prevent Common Overuse Injuries

If you push yourself too hard, you might sustain an overuse injury. However, these injuries are common among seasoned athletes, especially those who sustain repetitive trauma. Being sidelined with an unexpected injury clearly isn’t an ideal scenario for anyone, especially an athlete who wants to keep playing his or her sport. Fortunately, you can take preventative steps to make sure you stay in the game and stop common aches and pains before they even start.

The continual strain associated with an overuse injury can lead to stress fractures, shin splints, strained or pulled muscles, tenderness, or burning pain. Recovery from these overuse injuries might take time and patience, not to mention a physician’s diagnosis and treatment. You must take a break from the physical activity that aggravates your injury, and tell your doctor in detail about your workout technique, intensity, duration, and the types of exercise you do.

What Causes an Overuse Injury?

Overuse injuries typically stem from training errors or technique errors, either by taking on a physical activity too quickly or from using poor form that overloads the specific group of muscles. Most athletes will sustain an overuse injury at some point. Although the term “sports injury” may bring to mind broken bones and torn ligaments that are common in contact sports, many injuries actually come on more gradually as stress builds over time.

You can take steps to prevent an overuse injury by:

  • Always warming up before you work out
  • Increasing your workout regimen gradually (for example, runners shouldn’t bump up their mileage by more than 10% per week)
  • Not “pushing through the pain,” but stopping if you sense something is wrong
  • Alternating the intensity of your training days and cross-training from different types of physical activity
  • Buying the proper equipment and shoes

Recovery from Overuse Injuries

Depending on the root cause of your overuse injury, you may need to see an orthopedist for treatment. Your doctor can help give you personalized information about how to get back on track as quickly and safely as possible. Generally, treatment must include rest, ice, over-the-counter medications or prescribed pain relievers, physical therapy, and education to avoid re-injury. Once your overuse injury heals, your doctor can check if you’ve completely regained your strength, range of motion, flexibility, and balance before you restart your physical activities.

Contact us at Fox Valley Orthopedics for an Appointment

Do you have an overuse injury or need an assessment from an orthopedist? Get in touch with our friendly team at Fox Valley Orthopedics by calling (630) 584-1400 to book an appointment.