Often when we think about injuries we think about acute injuries, which occur in an instant, such as sprains, strains and fractures. However, a common condition we see here at Fairfield Physiotherapy Sports Injuries Centre, are overuse injuries – those injuries sustained from repeated actions and occur over time.
The biggest problem with overuse injuries is that they often get worse because people don’t realise how serious they are, come to accept the discomfort, or fail to treat them effectively when the warning signs arise. Here’s our quick guide to the key things you need to know about overuse injuries.
What causes an overuse injury?
Overuse injuries generally happen when someone begins a new sport or activity and either uses the wrong technique or tried to do too much too soon.
They also occur when the same movement is repeated over a long period of time and the muscle, joint, or ligament becomes irritated and inflamed.
What signs should you look for?
The most important thing you can do with an overuse injury is to spot the signs early on. And when you notice them, seek treatment as soon as possible.
The first signs of an overuse injury will generally occur when you’re warming-up for exercise. If you get onto treatment at this early stage, you should be able to make a quick recovery and avoid too much time away from your favourite sports or activities.
Pain that gets worse during the activity
If you get pain during the warm-up and it continues through to the primary activity, it’s important that you stop right away to avoid potential further damage.
If you notice any swelling in the area after physical activity, even slight, there is a strong chance the area may be inflamed. Swelling won’t necessarily be accompanied by an acute pain, and can be tempting to ignore, but could be an early sign an overuse injury.
Restricted joint mobility
When muscles, ligaments and tendons start to irritate they will often tighten as a defense. This is commonly felt as a ‘tightness’ in your arms and legs. When this happens you will generally find that your range of mobility is restricted.
How can you avoid overuse injuries?
Overuse injuries can happen to anyone – whether you exercise every day or less frequently. At our sports injuries centre we know all too well that when it comes to injuries, prevention is the best medicine. So before your next workout, keep the following strategies in mind to keep your body injury free:
- Make sure your runners are in good condition
- Ease into new exercise regimes and gradually increase your activity level
- Mix up your workouts by including a range of different activities that use different muscles groups.
- Consider asking us to demonstrate movements or positions so you can learn correct techniques.
What to do if you think you have an overuse injury
If you think you have an overuse injury you should visit a physiotherapist as soon as you notice the pain. Not only will early treatment allow you to get back on the horse quickly, but you can avoid serious damage in the future.
If you’ve noticed a niggle, or even something a bit more serious, and think it might be an overuse injury – book an appointment with a physiotherapist at our centre today.