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Overuse Injuries- Too much, Too soon


When we exercise and strengthen we are applying stresses to our body. The body readily adapts by strengthening and thickening the muscles, tendons and surrounding tissues to make us stronger, faster and fitter.

However if the body doesn’t have the capacity to adapt to the new load and stress it can lead to overuse injuries which are more likely sustained from a repeated action rather than an acute episode.

One of the biggest contributors to overuse injuries would be training load and incorrect training. We often want to return to a previous level of training or where we have once been without correctly progressing through a training programme where we adequately load the tissues to build the capacity to manage the desired task.

“Too much, Too soon”.

Some common overuse injuries include:

Shin Splints – this can be a common complaint in runners and sports with high jumping load. Pain is usually felt on the inside or front edges of the shin and can be felt during and after exercise. Common causes of shin splints include changes in exercise regime, which may be frequency, intensity and distance.

Achilles Tendinopathy – Your Achilles is one of the biggest and strongest tendons in your body, it attaches your calf muscles to the heel bone. It is a common injury that can affect athletes and non-athletes. People complain of morning stiffness, and pain located on palpation of their Achilles tendon.

Plantar Fasciitis – Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain. The plantar fasciia is a thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of your foot and connects the heel to your toes. It acts as a shock absorber and support for your arch. It can be triggered by incorrect loading whether that’s through exercise, poor footwear or change in weight. Pain can be a stabbing pain that is usually worse first thing in the morning and after exercise.

Rotator cuff Tendinopathy – the rotator cuff are a group of muscles that support and stabilise the shoulder. Injury to the rotator cuff can be from repetitive overhead activity or heavy lifting. Shoulder range of motion may be impacted and pain can be in the shoulder and occasionally referred down to the elbow.

Tennis Elbow – is a common injury to the muscles that move the wrist and fingers. Pain is usually felt on the outside of the elbow and can become worse with gripping and repetitive tasks of the wrist and hand.

Management for overuse injuries can be specific to the injury and location in the body but some simple principles to follow include identifying the cause and then removing or adapting this in your training. From here you can slowly load the tissues in the correct manor and return to your desired sport or activity injury free. An assessment from a physiotherapist can help with treating the acute symptoms and then advise you on the appropriate training and strengthening to avoid any recurrence in the long term once you return to training.

Give us a call on (07) 5795601 to book an appointment with a physiotherapist who can help you with any one of these issues.

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