Overuse injuries often happen from doing too much exercise at once, especially to people who do not exercise regularly.
But injuries from overusing parts of your body during exercise can also occur in people who work out regularly. That usually happens when people do not take sufficient time to rest and recover, regardless of whether you are an athlete or just an overly fit, healthy, and active individual.
Overuse injuries can also arise from technique errors, such as incorrectly using sports equipment or incorrectly doing exercises.
Types of Overuse Injuries
There are two types of overuse injuries: macro trauma and microtrauma injuries. Both affect your musculoskeletal system.
Macro trauma injuries include sprained ankle, ruptured tendons, and joint dislocation.
Microtrauma injuries include small tears in muscles’ connective tissue and fibers, sprained ligaments, and overstretched tendons.
Microtraumas also cover injuries that develop over time, such as:
- Achilles tendonitis.
- Golfer’s elbow.
- Posterior tibial tendonitis.
Avoiding Overuse Injuries
There are many things you can do to prevent overuse injuries occurring. These can be simple things like resting when you feel pain while exercising and varying your exercise routines and sporty activities so you will build more overall strength and fitness.
It is essential to vary the intensity and duration of your fitness routines and activities too. Also, there are specific steps you can take to prevent certain overuse injuries.
For example, posterior tibial tendonitis can happen by tearing or inflaming your posterior tendon. In the majority of severe cases, this can cause your feet’s arches to fall.
Wearing the right kind of shoes for exercising can help people with posterior tibial tendonitis to heal. You can use special orthotic shoes or others that are highly supportive. It is important to wear supportive shoes during the healing process. Wearing supportive shoes can also help you to prevent overuse injuries occurring from the offset. Other ways of preventing overuse injuries include:
- Learning how to use fitness equipment correctly by getting instruction from a qualified personal trainer;
- Slowly increasing the intensity, duration, and distance of your fitness activity; and/or
- Seeing a sports medicine professional before you start or return to a fitness-activity.
Treating Overuse Injuries
If you get an overuse injury, consult a medical professional. He or she will usually tell you to take a break from the activity that caused your damage.
Talk to your doctor about any recent changes you have made to your workout techniques so that the doctor can identify the cause of your injury. By finding the reason, the injury can become treated correctly, and you can avoid other damage in the future.
There are various treatments available for overuse injuries, including:
- Resting your injured area until the pain goes, and it becomes healed;
- Gently stretching the injured area by following the advice and instructions of your doctor or a physiotherapist; and
- Using over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications to relieve symptoms of your injury.
Are You Prone to an Overuse Injury?
As seen above, many things can cause overuse injuries, such as incorrectly training or overdoing activities.
Therefore, an overuse injury can happen to anyone. However, overuse injuries are also more likely to occur the older you get, especially once you hit your forties.
If you do not recognize the impact the aging process is having on your body, you cannot adjust your exercise routine accordingly to help prevent injuries occurring.
If you have certain medical conditions, you are also more prone to getting an overuse injury, especially if you have problems that affect your joints and ligaments like hyper-mobility conditions.
It is a good idea to talk to a doctor before beginning a new exercise activity or ramping up your present routine, so you can get specific tips on how to make the activity safer for you. Stay healthy and stay safe.