Athletic injuries can happen to anyone participating in sports, and they are incredibly common. In fact, children alone experience 5.5 million sports injuries each year. Often when people get hurt playing sports, it’s because of overuse. In fact, studies reveal that overuse accounts for the majority of athletic injuries, with these cases leading to 54% more recovery time than is required for acute injuries.

Let’s look at common overuse injuries, including factors, prevention, and effective treatment.

Overuse injuries – definition and examples

There are two basic types of injuries, acute injuries and overuse injuries.

Acute injuries are caused by one sudden and unexpected incident. They include the following:

·      Broken ankle

·      Dislocated knee

·      Sprained wrist

·      Strained neck muscles

Overuse injuries occur when bones or soft tissue deteriorate in response to recurrent stress without sufficient time for recovery. “Overuse injuries are more subtle and usually occur over time,” explains sports injury resource Coach Safely. “They are the result of repetitive micro-trauma to the tendons, bones and joints.”

Some of the most prevalent overuse injuries are:

·      Achilles tendinitis

·      Golfer’s elbow

·      Jumper’s knee

·      Runner’s knee

·      Shin splints

·      Swimmer’s shoulder

·      Tennis elbow

What causes overuse injuries?

Incredibly, experts believe that three out of five overuse injuries could actually be prevented. Researchers have noted seven factors that often contribute to an overuse injury:

1.    Conditioning mistakes

2.    Growth spurts in kids

3.    Structural imbalance

4.    Inappropriate shoes

5.    Problem with the field or court

6.    Dietary deficiencies

7.    Cultural deconditioning.

Most of those factors should be relatively straightforward, but what is the final one? Cultural deconditioning is the way sports injury specialists D.B. O’Neill and L.J. Micheli refer to the transition away from sitting on the couch. Kids today are “spending on average 40 hours in front of the television each week,” notes Educated Sports Parent. “When these children are put in sports, the intensity of the practice and games is much more than their bodies are used to, leading to overuse injuries.”

Prevention tips

How can these types of injuries be prevented? The following basic guidelines can help:

·      Make sure that your equipment is appropriate and that you’re using safe body mechanics.

·      Don’t overdo it. Carefully and systematically ratchet up the intensity of your workout routine over time.

·      Diversify with various cross-training elements.

·      Don’t ignore your body when you experience pain.

·      Prepubescent kids should avoid focusing on a single sport.

Treatment strategy

Do you think you might be suffering from an overuse injury? At Advanced Wellness and Rehab, we offer solutions for resolving painful health issues in a personalized and caring manner. Our goal is to ensure a quick, safe return to your favorite recreational activities. Learn more.