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What is overuse injuries?

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Overuse injuries are common among athletes and people who engage in physical activities regularly. They occur when the body is exposed to repeated stress without enough time for recovery and adaptation (NIAMS, n.d.). Overuse injuries can affect various parts of the body such as muscles, tendons, bones and joints and can cause pain, inflammation, reduced performance and increased risk of more serious injuries (DiFiori et al., 2014). However, most overuse injuries are preventable by following some simple guidelines.

First, it is important to use proper form and gear when performing any activity or sport. Taking lessons from a qualified instructor can help improve one’s technique and avoid unnecessary strain on the body (Mayo Clinic, 2021). Wearing appropriate shoes and equipment can also protect the body from impact and friction (Mayo Clinic Health System, n.d.).

Second, it is advisable to pace oneself and avoid sudden changes in intensity or duration of an activity. Gradually increasing one’s activity level can help the body adapt to the stress and prevent overload injuries (Brigham Health Hub, n.d.).

Third, it is beneficial to mix up one’s routine with cross-training and rest days. Cross-training involves doing different types of activities that work different muscle groups and reduce boredom (Mayo Clinic Health System, n.d.). Rest days allow the body to heal and recover from the stress of exercise (Brigham Health Hub, n.d.).

By following these tips, one can enjoy physical activities safely and reduce the risk of overuse injuries. We have additionally written an article about a recent study indicating that overuse injuries can be predicted by testing strength regularly since a decrease in strength can be measured 1 week prior to reporting of pain and a further decrease on pain onset.

How common are overuse injuries?

Recovery from overuse injuries is a crucial part of preventing further damage and restoring optimal function. The first step in recovery is to rest the affected area and avoid activities that cause pain or aggravate the injury (Mayo Clinic, 2021). Resting can help reduce inflammation and promote healing of the injured tissues (A.Vogel, n.d.). However, rest does not mean complete inactivity. Depending on the severity and location of the injury, one can perform alternative exercises that do not stress the injured area, such as swimming, cycling or yoga (Mayo Clinic Health System, n.d.). This can help maintain one’s fitness level and prevent deconditioning of other muscles (HSS Playbook Blog, 2016). Another important aspect of recovery is to apply ice to the injured area for 15 to 20 minutes several times a day. Ice can help numb pain and reduce swelling (Cleveland Clinic, 2020). Compression and elevation can also help minimize fluid accumulation and improve blood flow (Cleveland Clinic, 2020). In some cases, over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen or naproxen can help relieve pain and inflammation as well (Mayo Clinic Health System, n.d.). However, one should consult a doctor before taking any medication and follow the recommended dosage and duration. Finally, recovery from overuse injuries may require professional help from a physical therapist or a sports medicine specialist. They can provide guidance on proper stretching and strengthening exercises for the injured area and surrounding muscles (A.Vogel ,n.d.). They can also advise on how to modify one’s activity level and technique to prevent recurrence of overuse injuries (HSS Playbook Blog ,2016). 

Imagine this: You are a soccer player who has just recovered from a groin injury. You feel ready to hit the field again, but are you really? How do you know if your strength has returned to its optimal level? According to a recent study, strength after injury returns to baseline strength – meaning that measuring strength could be valuable when assessing if an athlete is ready to return to sports. In this article, we will explore the benefits of regular measuring of strength and how it can help prevent further damage and improve performance.

When measuring strength, precision is key. Being able to lift a certain amount of weight is not enough since you need to monitor the force output F=m*a. To get reliable force measurements we suggest using a force measuring device – and yes we provide such equipment, but any force measurement device that you have access to can be very valuable to make the right decisions.

Sources

Brigham Health Hub .(n.d.). Understanding And Preventing Overuse Injuries 1. Retrieved October 29th ,2022 ,from https://brighamhealthhub.org/understanding-and-preventing-overuse-injuries/

DiFiori J.P., Benjamin H.J., Brenner J.S., Gregory A., Jayanthi N., Landry G.L., & Luke A. (2014). Overuse Injuries And Burnout In Youth Sports: A Position Statement From The American Medical Society For Sports Medicine 2. Clinical Journal Of Sport Medicine : Official Journal Of The Canadian Academy Of Sport Medicine ,24(1), pp.3-20.

Mayo Clinic .(2021). Overuse Injury: How To Prevent Training Injuries 3. Retrieved October 29th ,2022 ,from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/overuse-injury/art-20045875

Mayo Clinic Health System .(n.d.). How To Avoid Overuse Injuries . Retrieved October 29th ,2022 ,from https://www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org/hometown-health/speaking-of-health/how-to-avoid-overuse-injuries

NIAMS .(n.d.). Sports Injuries . Retrieved October 29th ,2022 ,from https://www.niams.nih.gov/health-topics/sports-injuries

Bowers A.L., Comstock R.D., Kerr Z.Y., & Dompier T.P. (2021). An epidemiologic comparison of acute and overuse injuries in high school sports: A prospective cohort study using injury surveillance data from nine sports during two academic years 1. Injury Epidemiology, 8(1), Article number: 47.

DiFiori J.P., Benjamin H.J., Brenner J.S., Gregory A., Jayanthi N., Landry G.L., & Luke A. (2014). Overuse Injuries and Burnout in Youth Sports: A Position Statement from the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine 2. Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine : Official Journal Of The Canadian Academy Of Sport Medicine, 24(1), pp.3-20.

McCall A., Dupont G., Ekstrand J., & McLean S.G.(2019). Load, Overload, And Recovery In The Athlete: Select Issues For The Team Physician-A Consensus Statement 3. Current Sports Medicine Reports ,18(4), pp.141-148.

NIAMS .(n.d.). Sports Injuries 4. Retrieved October 29th ,2022 ,from https://www.niams.nih.gov/health-topics/sports-injuries

A.Vogel .(n.d.). How To Recover From An Overuse Injury 1. Retrieved October 29th ,2022 ,from https://www.avogel.co.uk/get-active/workouts/how-to-recover-from-an-overuse-injury/

Cleveland Clinic .(2020). 6 Running Injuries And How To Treat Them 2. Retrieved October 29th ,2022 ,from https://health.clevelandclinic.org/the-most-common-running-injuries-plus-how-to-treat-them/

HSS Playbook Blog .(2016). A Guide To Overuse Injuries & Burnout 3. Retrieved October 29th ,2022 ,from https://www.hss.edu/playbook/a-guide-to-overuse-injuries-burnout/

Mayo Clinic .(2021). Overuse Injury: How To Prevent Training Injuries 4. Retrieved October 29th ,2022 ,from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/overuse-injury/art-20045875

Mayo Clinic Health System .(n.d.). How To Avoid Overuse Injuries 5. Retrieved October 29th ,2022 ,from https://www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org/hometown-health/speaking-of-health/how-to-avoid-overuse-injuries