Swimming, hiking, kayaking, and biking are all great exercises you can add to your fitness repertoire this summer. Although it’s exciting to find new ways to stay active while enjoying the warmer weather, it is important to be aware of how new, more intense workouts can potentially exceed your body’s limitations and increase your risk of an overuse injury.
At , we want our patients to understand how you can stay active this season while taking care of your body. Here are a few causes of overuse injuries, common overuse injuries you should look out for, and how you can prevent overuse injuries from disrupting your workout routine this summer:
What Are Causes of Overuse Injuries?
We are always told to challenge ourselves in reference to our fitness routines and goals. While setting expectations for yourself is healthy and often necessary for accountability purposes, it is important to keep your physical health a priority prior to adding new, intense exercises to your workout routine. Most overuse injuries are the result of exercising too frequently with little to no rest time, focusing on one activity for too long, or repeating the same improper techniques.
What Are Common Overuse Injuries?
Overuse injuries are typically harder to diagnose than acute injuries. Unlike acute injuries that occur as a result of a single, traumatic incident, overuse injuries begin subtly, and eventually worsen over time. While all overuse injuries differ in location and severity, the majority of them are the result of minor trauma due to repetitive motion and activity that causes excessive strain on the body and affects bones, muscles, ligaments, or tendons. Here are some common overuse injuries:
- Tennis elbow- Lateral Epicondylitis, more commonly known as tennis elbow, is a painful condition that is caused by microtears in the tendons that join the forearm muscles on the outside of the elbow.
- Shin splints- This condition is common among runners. Shin splints are the result of inflammation of the muscles, tendons, and bone tissue that surround your tibia (front of the shin bone).
- Achilles tendonitis- The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in your body and connects your calf muscle to your heel bone. Achilles tendonitis occurs when micro-tears begin to degenerate and cause swelling and pain.
- Patellar tendonitis- Your patellar tendon connects your kneecap (patella) to your shinbone (tibia) and allows for knee extension. Jumper’s knee, or patellar tendonitis, is the result of repeated pulling on the patellar tendon in the knee joint from activities such as running, jumping, or kicking.
If you are struggling with any of the following overuse injuries, do not allow your condition to worsen. At Barrington Orthopedic Specialists, our expert are experienced in assessing, diagnosing, and treating a variety of sports medicine injuries.
What Are Treatment Options for Overuse Injuries?
It is important to treat overuse injuries early, as they can eventually lead to worsened conditions. Stress fractures are small cracks in the bone that commonly occur as a result of overuse. They are found in the weight-bearing bones of the body such as the foot and can lead to pain and tenderness when pressure is applied during movement. While treatment options for overuse injuries may vary depending on specific conditions or tolerance levels, here are some common ways that this injury is treated:
- Restrict activity
- Physical therapy
- Splint/ cast
What Can I Do To Prevent Overuse Injuries?
Overuse injuries can prevent you from enjoying your exercise routine or accomplishing simple, daily tasks. Fortunately, these injuries are mostly preventable. While it is hard to predict when an injury may occur, here are ways you can reduce your risk of sustaining an overuse injury.
- Pace yourself- Instead of jumping right into a new workout routine, give your body time to acclimate by gradually increasing your intensity and activity level.
- Warm up- A good warmup is essential to a good workout. During a warm up, your body temperature will increase. This loosens your joints and allows for increased blood flow to your muscles, allowing for less stress on your joints and tendons.
- Rest and recover- Listen to your body. The period after your workout is just as essential as the period before. Ice, stretch, hydrate and allow your body to heal. This will decrease your risk of injury, soreness, and prepare your body for your next workout.