Overuse injuries occur when there is repeated micro trauma to bone, muscle or tendon which has not had enough time to heal properly as a result of doing ” too much, too fast and too soon”. Areas that are commonly affected are the shins, knee, shoulders, hips and elbows. You might have heard words such as shin splints, jumper’s knee, throwers shoulder or a tendonitis or tendonosis.
Unfortunately as a physiotherapist dealing exclusively with musculoskeletal injuries the number of children with overuse injuries is growing at an alarming rate.Children are more at risk because their bones, muscles and tendons that are undergoing rapid growth and are more susceptible to the microtruama due to a rapid turnover of tissue. However, adults too can be affected.
There are risk factors which include:
1. Training errors such as too much repetitive overload and overtraining is common. Early specialisation in sports and year-round involvement in multiple sports increase the risk. Poor technique done repetitively can cause problems.
2. Genetic issues such as flat feet, excessive stiffness or flexibility which cause biomechanical problems. Other risk factors are a lack of muscle support and excessive activity during a growth sport is also a problem
3. Equipment problems such as worn, badly fitting and inappropriate shoes.
An individual might have one or more of these factors but as a rule the more of these factors we have the more likely that an injury will happen.
The earlier we pick up the injury the better. Overuse injuries severity can be recognised by when the pain comes on with activity. The stages from early to latter are as follows:
- Pain after physical activity
- Pain during activity but does not restrict performance
- Pain during activity that affects performance
- Pain even at rest
The best cure is in fact prevention and the following simple advice can go a long way to keeping you injury free:
- Avoid burnout
- Remember sport should be fun
- Allow 2 to 3 days off formal sport a week
- Don’t increase training time, repetitions, distance by more than 10% each week.
- Avoid too many sports that occur all year-round.
- Allow some time off during the year for a specific sport.
- Good fitting shoes and replace if worn excessively
- Always adopt a good technique
If you are struggling with an overuse injury you should rest but equally important is rehabilitation to reduce the forces on the injured area. This can be done with strengthening and stretching. Your physiotherapist will help with this as well as looking at poor technique, providing advice on footwear.
Coastal Physiotherapy & Sport Injury Clinic is the leading Gold Coast Physio provider and will get you back after that frustrating sport injury.
For more information on warm-ups and cool-downs, talk to your friendly Gold Coast Physio today on (07) 5574 4303!