Overuse Injuries – How Can You Prevent Them?

Overuse Injuries – How Can You Prevent Them?

by Alex Hirsch (SU)

There are two basic types of injuries: acute injuries and overuse injuries. Acute injuries happen as a result of a single, often blunt-force trauma to the body.

Overuse injuries are injuries that gradually develop over time. This occurs from doing a repetitive motion until some joint or body part begins to suffer the inability to perform a certain motion without pain.

How Do Overuse Injuries Happen? 

Overuse injuries develop gradually, especially from using improper form to do something. While many athletes assume that any injury is an acute injury, an overuse injury may be noticed suddenly but is actually caused by performing an activity over and over. 

The cumulative result of training errors, improper form or technique, and simply repeating a motion over and over will cause overuse injuries. These injuries can cause just as much or more damage than an acute injury. 

Several factors contribute to overuse injuries, including the following:

  • A lack of muscle strength or endurance
  • Having poor core stability, resulting in straining 
  • Inflexibility or poor stretching, leading to staggered movements
  • Poor technique that causes another body part to compensate
  • Errors in training, whether the issue is with form, equipment, or technique
  • Any activity that results in cumulative trauma

Avoiding Overuse Injuries

The best way to avoid an overuse injury is by starting out with proper form from the very beginning. Consider having a personal trainer give you advice and feedback before launching into a sport.

Form is crucial, and certain sports pose a greater risk caused by bad form. In weight-lifting, for example, form is critical – and because a person is pushing greater weight, using poor form will definitely cause a joint to wear out. 

Stages of Repetitive-Motion Injury

There exist roughly four stages of an overuse type of injury: 

  • First stage: Discomfort during warm-up
  • Second stage: Discomfort that disappears during warm-up, but reappears at the conclusion of the activity
  • Third stage: Discomfort that worsens during the activity
  • Fourth stage: Constant pain or discomfort 

Before an overuse injury worsens, see a doctor and stop performing the activity that is causing pain. The physician will likely explain alternative methods of performing the same task.

Experienced Orthopedic Physicians in Colorado

Overuse injuries do not happen overnight – they take time to develop. Anything that brings pain which did not in the past is cause to seek medical attention.

Pushing on through the pain might significantly damage the joint or eventually require surgical intervention, whereas the injury may have been treated with therapy if addressed sooner.

The doctors at the Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence have decades of experience treating all sorts of injuries on all levels of athletes. Call us today at (719) 623-1050 or schedule an appointment now. Don’t neglect the warning signs in your body – listen to them so you can prevent a simple problem from becoming a complex issue.