Preventing Overuse Injuries

Preventing Overuse Injuries

The human body is capable of completing many impressive athletic feats. One of the staples of athletic culture is continually finding ways to push your body to new heights. However, if you are not careful when trying to do this, you can end up with a devastating injury. At New York Sports Medicine Institute, our team wants to help athletes prevent overuse injuries. By listening to our sports medicine experts, Dr. Roth or Dr. Delaney, you’ll learn more about these injuries and how to keep yourself protected!

What Are Overuse Injuries?  

Overuse injuries take place when you push the tissues of your body outside their normal range of motion. Even if you aren’t a competitive athlete but more of a weekend warrior, you are still susceptible to these types of injuries. Anyone who completes repetitive motions for an extended period puts their body at risk. Additionally, the longer you let an overuse injury linger, the more severe the issue will become. That is why if you find yourself dealing with any of the below symptoms, you shouldn’t wait to seek treatment with our team:

  • Weakness.
  • Swelling and bruising.
  • Aches and pain.
  • Limited range of motion.
  • Facing discomfort that arises as soon as movement begins.

What Are The Most Common Types Of Overuse Injuries? 

One of the most important things to remember when it comes to overuse injuries is that they can impact any part of the body. However, two of the most common areas where overuse injuries occur are the shoulders and knees.  These joints are routinely used every day, and if you are physically active, they are continually pushed to increase your athletic output. That is why proper training and safety precautions must always remain at the top of your mind when being active. When the muscles and  tendons of your body are weak (especially in and around the knees and shoulders), you leave them susceptible to overuse injuries.  Some of the most common issues our team diagnoses and treats include:

  • Runner’s/ Jumper’s knee (aka patellar tendinitis)
  • Biceps Tendinitis
  • Achilles tendonitis.
  • Hamstring Strains
  • MDI of the shoulder ; Multidirectional Instability
  • Shoulder or Rotator Cuff Impingement
  • Patellar or Shoulder Bursitis
  • IT Band Syndrome

Causes To Be Aware Of

The COVID-19 pandemic has quickly changed how many people go about their fitness regimens and work life. Running and cycling have quickly increased in popularity as ways to stay in shape while remaining socially distant.  However, when you are not careful, these activities can cause overuse injuries.  The constant pounding of the feet into the ground from running and the repetitive motion of the knees and legs from cycling can irritate and injure the body parts needed to complete these activities. 

COVID-19 also forced many people to begin working from home on a more permanent basis.  While this is great for cutting back on the commute, many do not have an ergonomically sound workplace.  And although this does not sound like a big deal, this can also lead to several overuse injuries.  For example, improper ergonomics can lead to your wrists being flexed continuously as you work, leading to the development of carpal tunnel syndrome.  Additionally, without a proper desk, people likely have their neck hunched over most of the day to look at their screens, causing painful neck strains to develop.  While our team is here to help treat overuse injuries, we also understand the importance of preventing them.  

Top Prevention Methods

As an athlete, even minor injuries can quickly derail a season. Suffering from one caused by overuse could very well put an end to your activities before you even had a chance to start. Our team does not want to see this happen to you, which is why we want to help. Although overuse injuries are common, there are always ways to prevent them. Some of the most beneficial forms of doing so are listed below:

  • Make sure to work out all offseason, so your body doesn’t face too much strain as soon as the season starts. Progressively build your workout volume.  
  • Cross-training is an excellent way to prevent overusing certain muscle groups.  For example, avid runners can perform activities such as cycling or swimming to keep their endurance levels up while avoiding the constant pound of their legs into the ground.
  • If you begin to experience pain, make sure to rest to prevent the issue from becoming a full-blown injury.
  • Utilizing proper mechanics can help prevent athletes from damaging their muscles and supportive tissue.  For example, athletes who perform overhead arm motions need to keep their arms at the correct angle slots to avoid exerting unnecessary stress on their shoulder tissues.  
  • Never try to push your body too far past its normal range of motion. 

Potential Treatment Options 

At New York Sports Medicine Institute, our team knows that the unfortunate reality is that even after trying to prevent overuse injuries, they are unavoidable at times. If you suffer from one this sports season, don’t delay in seeking medical treatment. The sooner the problem is addressed, the quicker you can get back to being with your team. Depending on the type and severity of the overuse injury you suffer from, the treatment methods that can be utilized include:

  • A period of rest and modified activity or inactivity.
  • Focus on the body’s alternating segments of joint stability and mobility.  Avoid making a stable joint mobile. (aka the knee should be stable while the joints above and below it – the hip and ankle, respectively – should be mobile). An alteration in their function could cause an overuse injury.
  • PRP and Hyaluronic acid injections will help with the recovery process.  PRP, or platelet-rich plasma injections, take platelets from another part of the body and inject them into the injured area.  These injections have been shown to reduce pain and improve functionality.  Hyaluronic acid can also be injected into the injured area, stimulating the cellular regeneration of damaged tissue.
  • Consider your doctor’s recommended surgical options to repair/reattach any damaged tissues.

Contact Our Team

Being diagnosed with an overuse injury can be devastating for an athlete. Fortunately, some steps can be taken to avoid this situation. By following the advice our team laid out, you stand a real chance at keeping yourself healthy. However, if you still find yourself dealing with one, our team at New York Sports Medicine Institute will be there to help. To learn more about this, please don’t hesitate to contact us today.