Tennis elbow. Swimmer's shoulders. Runner's knee. Achilles tendinitis. Shin splints. These are all examples of overuse injuries resulting from repetitive micro-trauma to the tendons, bones and joints. Surprisingly, overuse injuries are more common in sports than acute injuries. But since they're subtle and usually occur gradually, overuse injuries are more challenging to diagnose and treat.
Overuse injuries can happen when you try to take on too much physical activity too quickly. Symptoms may include:
Most overuse injuries can be prevented with proper training and common sense. For example:
Treatment usually includes not using the injured muscle, tendon, ligament or bone until it has time to heal and your pain disappears. When advised by your doctor, you may gently start stretching the injured area, followed by a very gradual increase in the intensity, duration and frequency of your activities.
When an overuse injury isn't given time to heal, it can cause other more serious injuries like ruptured tendons and ligaments and fractures. So if you suspect that you have an overuse injury, talk with the orthopedic specialists at Summa Health before returning to activity.