How To Prevent Overuse Injuries

injury prevention Nov 29, 2023

We’ve all been there. You’re working hard in the gym, maybe throwing a football, pushing yourself to your limits, and then all of a sudden you feel that twinge in your shoulder. Or maybe you’ve been feeling pain in your knees for weeks now and you just can’t seem to shake it. If this sounds familiar, then you may be suffering from an overuse injury, or training injuries. 

Overuse injuries are becoming increasingly common, especially among athletes and people who lead active lifestyles. In this blog post, we will discuss the prime ways to prevent overuse injuries from happening to you, as well as what you can do if you’re already suffering from one. 


What Is An Overuse Injury

An overuse injury is a type of injury that is caused by repeated motion or too much stress on a particular area of the body, such as pain and swelling in an elbow joint, IT band syndrome (also known as runner’s knee or jumper’s knee), or even carpal tunnel syndrome. Overuse injuries are also referred to as repetitive strain injuries (RSIs) or cumulative trauma disorders (CTDs).

Overuse injuries can affect any part of the body and commonly occur after intense physical activity or during a new workout routine, in both young athletes and adults. To prevent an overuse injury, it is important to take the proper precautions and practice safe exercise habits.

Prevention of Overuse Injuries

Don’t Push Yourself Too Hard! This may seem like common sense, but it’s important to listen to your body and not push yourself too hard, and only use the proper equipment to avoid injury. If you’re feeling pain, take a break to prevent repetitive stress and potential harm to your body. It’s better to rest now and prevent an injury than to push through the pain and end up sidelined for weeks or even months.

The Details Are in the Stress Fractures

Stress fractures are tiny cracks in your bones that occur from overuse. They’re common in the feet and lower legs of runners but can also occur in the upper body of throwers or swimmers. If you suspect you have a stress fracture, it’s important to see a doctor right away. Rest and ice are the best treatments.

Common Symptoms of Overuse Injuries:

  1. Persistent pain or tenderness in a joint or muscle
  2. Swelling
  3. Stiffness
  4. Decreased range of motion
  5. Weakness
  6. Bruising

If you experience any of these common examples of symptoms, it’s important to see a doctor right away and look at your treatment options. In addition to rest, ice, and elevation your doctor may suggest a treatment plan, like physical therapy exercises, to help make the area stronger. Believe it or not overuse injuries occur to average people and can affect a variety of muscle groups.

Knee Injuries & Shin Overuse

Knee injuries are anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) sprain or tear. It occurs when you change direction too rapidly, land from a jump incorrectly, or stop suddenly. They are especially common for athletes in high-impact sports such as soccer or football.

The jumper’s knee (patellar tendonitis) is an injury that occurs in running or jumping sports. How an athlete falls or puts force on the knee in a usual rotation.

A shin splint is an overuse injury of the muscles and tendons around your shinbone (tibia). This can cause pain in the lower leg. Shin splints usually occur in new runners who have changed their exercise routine too quickly, or when they do not have the right shoes.

Arm & Elbow Overuse

Frequent use of this joint can cause strains or fractures and overhand throwing places a lot of stress on the elbow. For baseball players, the most common throwing injury is known as Little League elbow or medial epicondylitis. Pain will occur on the inside of the elbow, and throwing velocity will decrease. 

Tennis players tend to acquire this to their elbow too, or lateral epicondylitis (aka tennis elbow), the tissue connecting the forearm muscle to the elbow is inflamed. Since it is a different type of motion, the pain will be felt on the outside of the arm. It may occur from training errors such as ramping up activity too fast or exercising too long without giving adequate time for rest. Sports injuries are a serious matter because not only can they take a player out for the season, but emotionally and mentally it can be a lot on an athlete.

Do Not Overlook the Knee Pain

One of the most common overuse injuries in runners is knee pain. It can be caused by many things, including weak hips, tight hamstrings, or overpronation (a condition where your foot rolls inward when you run). If you’re experiencing knee pain, it’s important to see a doctor to rule out any serious conditions. Once you’ve been cleared, there are several things you can do to prevent further knee pain including: 

Strengthening the muscles around the knee

Improving flexibility in the hips and hamstrings

✓ Wearing shoes that support your feet

If you’re susceptible to overuse injuries The Performance Lab of California can help you after you heal up. There are athletes with musculoskeletal and skin diseases in which overuse strains their bodies due to their arthritis. 

Overuse Recovery – Warm Up and Cool Down

Warming up before you exercise and cooling down afterward helps prepare your body for activity and prevents injury. A proper warm up will gradually increase your heart rate and blood flow, making your muscles and joints more flexible. A cool-down allows your body to slowly return to its resting state. These injuries can cause serious and permanent damage.

After your full recovery the Performance Lab of California is here for you with personalized speed plans, so call now at (818) 578-5013 to get started with your coaching, especially if you have not been able to condition during the off-season.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is the most common type of overuse injury?

The most common type of overuse injury is tendonitis. It can occur in any part of the body but is most common in the shoulder, elbow, hip, and knee.

What are the symptoms of an overuse injury?

Symptoms of an overuse injury include pain, swelling, and loss of range of motion.

Does heel pain count as an overuse injury?

Heel pain is another common type of overuse injury, especially in runners. It is often caused by plantar fasciitis, which is the inflammation of the tissue that connects the heel to the toes. Heel pain is a general term used to describe any type of pain in the heel. The most common cause of heel pain is plantar fasciitis, which is an inflammation of the ligament that runs along the bottom of the foot.

Can an overuse injury cause permanent damage?

If an overuse injury is not treated properly, it can cause permanent damage.

What are some ways to prevent overuse injuries?

Some ways to prevent overuse injuries include: Warming up before exercise, stretching regularly, cross-training, using proper form when exercising, and increasing intensity gradually. Lastly, and most importantly rest when needed.

Does the Performance Lab of California train athletes who are not quarterbacks?

Yes, the Performance Lab of California trains athletes who are not quarterbacks, or in our quarterback training program! We have a wide range of clients, from competitive athletes to those just looking to improve their overall fitness. We work with all types of clients and can tailor programs to meet your specific needs and goals. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you achieve your goal!

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