An overuse injury is a common occurrence in sports, which often starts with subtle symptoms and tend to develop over time.
Find out what can cause an overuse injury and how to ensure safety while engaging in any activity or sports you enjoy.
What is an Overuse Injury
An overuse injury is a result of repeated movements that causes wear and tear on the bones, muscles, ligaments, joints, and nerves.
Anyone who engages in a physical routine regularly is vulnerable to overuse injury. Performing the same activity repeatedly, such as running, weightlifting, and throwing a ball, can cause muscle tears. Over time, it can lead to bleeding and swelling in the injured area.
Many professions are engaged in repetitive and forceful movements, but overuse injuries are more common in athletes, runners, musicians, and dancers. It also affects people in the workplace who spend a lot of time using computers and other devices.
The areas most affected by overuse injuries are the knees, elbows, shoulders, and heels.
Signs and Symptoms
The common signs and symptoms of overuse injuries include:
- tingling, numbness, or pain in the injured area
- stiffness or soreness in the neck, back, or shoulders
- feelings of weakness or fatigue in the hands, arms, or legs
- popping or clicking sensation
See a doctor if you notice the appearance of any of these warning signs. Do not ignore symptoms that come and go, as these may indicate a more serious problem.
Without the right treatment, overuse injuries can become severe and may prevent you from completing everyday tasks. In some cases, it can hinder you from participating in your favourite sports or activities.
How to Prevent Overuse Injuries
A repetitive stress injury (overuse injury) is easily preventable by “listening to your body.” Many people who suffer from this say that common sense should always come first when engaging in any activity.
“The no pain, no gain” saying does not apply when it is one’s health that is at risk. Here are some ways to prevent overuse injuries.
Proper warmup (and cool down)
A moment of impatience to perform any strenuous activity could possibly result in months or years of injury and frustration. Doing some stretching can greatly increase your flexibility and core stability, thus preventing excessive stress in the muscles.
Set realistic goals
Experts suggest adding 10% only when starting any exercise program or other activities. There is significant evidence indicating that a sudden increase of more than the recommended amount can cause shock the bodily responses.
Setting realistic goals will provide adequate muscle recovery time before the next sessions.
Use proper equipment
Using the right equipment is important when carrying out tasks in the workplace or when playing a sport.
For example, in tennis play, using a racket with the correct grip, quality shoes, and protective eyewear can do wonders in preventing injuries. A construction worker in a risky location wearing a hard hat, proper shoes, and using the right equipment is less likely to suffer from an overuse injury.
Drink plenty of liquids
Dehydration can lead to impaired performance and other health consequences in the long run. Always drink plenty of water before, during, and after any strenuous activity. Consuming at least eight ounces of water in a day is ideal.
Treatment for Overuse Injuries
Doctors diagnose overuse injuries by conducting a thorough physical examination. The doctor will examine the best course of action based on the extent of the damage.
Depending on the severity of the injury, the treatment option may include RICE first aid method, physical therapy, medicine, or even surgery.
Learn First Aid
Treating any injury right away is important, so it is good to have a proper understanding of first aid methods to ensure you are prepared to handle different types of emergencies.
For those who want to learn lifesaving techniques and procedures, enrol in a First Aid and CPR course.