When you hear about “overuse injuries” in the body, the first thing people often assume is that it is something sports related. While regular participation in athletic activities can increase your risk of experiencing overuse injuries, it is far from the only source. It isn’t just athletes who deal with this either. In fact, you can experience overuse injuries at any age if you are active often and engage in repetitive motions or physical activity.
Everyday tasks such as housework, gardening, and even typing for too long can be a source of these problems so please don’t just ignore them thinking it won’t happen to you. It could happen to anyone.
Luckily, knowing about the most common types of injuries can help you become more aware of your movement and help you take steps to prevent these injuries in the first place.
Bodily injuries in this context are broken down into two categories, Acute and Overuse.
Acute injuries are dramatic, one time events that lead to damage, like a sprained ankle or broken bone. So what is an overuse injury?
According to StopSportsInjuries.org they are the result of repetitive microtrauma to the tendons, bones, and joints.¨ This means that they usually take time to develop and can therefore go unnoticed until it’s too late. The most common overuse injuries include:
- Tennis elbow
- youth pitching elbow
- swimmer’s shoulder
- runner’s knee
- jumper’s knee
- Achilles tendinitis
- shin splints
- Blackened and bruised toenails
- Corns, blisters, and calluses
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Rotator cuff issues aka tendonitis of the shoulder
So these injuries are pretty common, but how do you know if you are experiencing them yourself? A few signs to look out for is:
- having pain in the area in the 12 hours following an activity or exercise.
- Experiencing pain while actively engaging in the activity, but it doesn’t last very long and will go away eventually
- Experiencing pain while actively engaging in the activity, enough that it prevents movement, but fades away later on
- Chronic pain (pain that is constant and doesn’t get better)
Despite these injuries being fairly common, most people do not realize that the way they are engaging in their activities is setting them up to get hurt. The common trope of exercise is that it is ¨good for you” and you may be encouraged to ¨push yourself¨ while exercising because of the catchy phrase ¨No Pain, No Gain.¨ In reality, if you engage in an activity for too long, increase the intensity of an action too quickly, or do it too often, you are much more likely to injure yourself. Our infrastructure is continually remodeling itself- it breaks down and rebuilds muscles and tissues after activities, but it also needs time to repair in between them. If you don’t acknowledge your body’s boundaries, you are going to do more harm than good. Also, small changes can make a big difference. Something as simple as having improper footwear can cause you to overwork and injure yourself. If you find yourself experiencing pain in a certain area, try to add in some small stretches as a warm up and cool down exercise before engaging in your normal routine- like hand strengthening exercises before going to type on your keyboard at work all day. However, if the pain continues, it needs to be addressed with a professional.
If you feel like you are experiencing any type of overuse injury, or want to learn more about how you can prevent these injuries from becoming more severe, the best thing to do is contact an orthopedic doctor early on. They can help you to pinpoint the target areas of pain, and treat it. You deserve to move through life unrestricted and without pain. Call for a consultation today.