Overuse injuries are the result of repetitive use, stress and trauma to the soft tissue of the body (muscles, tendons, bones and joints). They are sometimes called cumulative trauma, or repetitive stress injuries. Examples of overuse injuries include:
- Tennis elbow
- Shin splints
Many sports injuries that cause slight pain are overuse injuries. They often occur at the start of a new exercise routine, or in individuals who don’t allow for enough rest and recovery time after exercising.
Overuse injuries in youth sports is becoming increasingly common and more children are having surgery for chronic sports injuries. The Sports and Exercise Medicine physicians specialize in the non-operative treatment and prevention of overuse injuries, educating parents and coaches to recognize the warning signs of these injuries before they become more serious.
Physicians recommend rest as the best treatment for overuse injuries, but sometimes a reduction of intensity, duration or frequency of exercise will relieve symptoms. Icing the injury, physical therapy, or over-the-counter medications can also help reduce associated inflammation and pain. Physicians encourage patients to understand how to prevent overuse injuries by maintaining a training schedule that varies in intensity and duration, as well as the type of activity. Also, getting a proper warm up and cross-training is vitally important.