Whether you are a sports athlete, a gym rat, or an at-home workout warrior, you face the probability of an overuse injury.

If you don’t know what an overuse injury is; it simply is any type of muscle or joint injury… that’s caused by consistent trauma.

Some examples of notable overuse injuries include: “tennis elbow, swimmer’s shoulder, youth pitching elbow, runner’s knee, jumper’s knee, Achilles tendinitis, and shin splints.

We clearly understand that it is difficult to take a break from training when you are attempting to hit a new fitness and/or performance goal, but your body will thank you in the long haul.

Prevention Of An Overuse Injury

A majority of overuse injuries are preventable if you pay close attention to your body’s needs. Adopting the following guidelines for proper training will severely decrease your likelihood of suffering from an overuse injury:

  • Practice proper form. When performing any repetitive movement (i.e. pitching a baseball, running, or lifting weights), proper form is essential to avoid injury. If you are not sure what proper form is for a certain movement, check with a coach or athletic trainer.
  • Distribute your activity.The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week with at least two strength training sessions. Dedicate 30-60 minutes, 5-days a week to exercising, movement, and training. This breakdown allows you time to rest and you won’t be pushing yourself too hard with overly intensive training.
  • Moderately increase difficulty. Whether you’re just starting a new program or want to up the intensity of your current training, do so gradually.   For example, increase the weight you lift by no more than 10 percent in 1-2 week increments.
  • Adopt cross-training.“To continue to improve your fitness level and reap all the benefits of regular exercise, you need to keep your body guessing. Cross training does this for you. When you do the same activity over and over, you also set yourself up for overuse injuries. Cross training helps solve this problem, too” (WebMD). Cross training is a great way to work different muscle groups in a variety of ways each week and allows you to stretch and build muscle the proper way.

Treatment For An Overuse Injury

At times, regardless of how hard you try to get away from it, an overuse injury can happen. It is pivotal to begin treatment as soon as the discomfort starts, to help avoid a more drastic injury. 

Here are a few at-home treatments for any overuse injury:

  • Don’t train again until you can do it comfortably and at ease
  • Lower intensity and length of training, especially the exercises the aggravate your injury
  • Warm-up prior to exercising and stretch after you are done
  • Apply ice and/or heat to the area of your injury daily/as needed

If at-home treatments do not remedy your injury, our Physical Therapist suggest visiting a local Palmdale Physical Therapist to help discuss treatment options.