When enough is enough: Overcoming Your Overuse Injuries

Overuse injuries are common among athletes and workers who undertake the same task often, causing the same stress to joints or limbs over and over. This repeated stress can cause acute fractures to bones, and swollen joints, and because it develops so slowly over time it will not always be noticed until that patient is in pain continually, or a majority of the time.

Common Causes

Tendinitis is one of the most common causes for overuse injuries. The tendons have a limited supply of blood as they enter the bone at joints, which can predispose them to degrading. This scarred tendon tissue is not as strong and is vulnerable to tearing and rupturing. This condition is caused by excessive use without allowing the tendon time to fully recover. Tendons damage can also be caused by trauma.

Another common cause of overuse injuries is repeated impact trauma. This trauma does not have to seem like major trauma, but is more like the trauma experienced by a runner or a long jumper. These athletes will have repetitive impacts on their joints which can cause micro fractures which will often not even be noticed at the time.

Common Types of Overuse Injuries

There are many different types of overuse injury and pretty much every sport or occupation will have one unique to their work. Some of the most common types of overuse injuries are;

  • Jumper's Knee: Jumper’s Knee is a tenderness below the knee, which are often caused by the patellar tendon in the knee being pulled on regularly.
  • Shin Splints: Shin Splints is a pain and tenderness in the area of the shin. This injury is often caused by excessive running on hard surfaces like asphalt.
  • Spondylolysis: Spondylolysis is often evidenced by pain in the lower back. This injury is caused by repetitive flexing and extensions of the lower back. This is common among office workers, who have to sit and hunch over a keyboard, and workers who regularly have to bend over and lift objects.

Symptoms

The common symptoms of overuse injuries include; pain, muscle weakness, swelling, numbness, and restricted mobility of the joint. These symptoms can develop in any joint, including the neck and back, but are most common in the joints of the hands and wrist. It is important to recognize that the causes of joint pain can be overuse so that treatment can begin early on.

Treatments

If you suspect that you are suffering from an over use injury the treatments that will be prescribed are;

  • The injury party will have to reduce the frequency and intensity of the activity. If the injury is caused by running you will have to run less often and for shorter times. If the injury is due to typing you will have to type less often.
  • If the injury was caused by a sport the doctor will likely suggest you consult a professional trainer who can correct your form and technique to prevent further injury.
  • You should be sure to properly stretch before the activity to ensure that the muscles and joints are flexible, and do cool down activities afterwards so the muscles do not contract too rapidly.
  • Depending on the location and the nature of the injury, you may be advised to use anti-inflammatory cream and medication. Additionally Ice or heat packs may be applied to prevent minor swelling.

If you experience continued muscle or joint pain after an activity you should consult with a doctor before resuming the activity. The doctor will be able to do a full examination, and diagnose the likely causes of your pain, and advice on the best course of action. AAA Medical Solutions LLC offers a full range of treatment and recovery options for the San Antonio area and will be able to help you make a full recovery, and get back to the playing field.