Every January, millions of Americans begin their resolutions to become more active. As runners ramp up their mileage and athletes increase time on the court, aches and pains begin to set in. Being aware of the signs and symptoms of overuse injuries can ensure that you meet your fitness goals for 2015, while preventing long-term damage to your body.
Acute vs. Overuse:
Acute injuries are usually the result of impact or slippage. A sprained ankle, broken arm, torn ACL or dislocated shoulder could all be considered acute injuries, since they resulted from a single action “gone wrong.” An overuse injury is generally more insidious; the pain tends to come on slowly over time, and the body often compensates for the injury, leading to other impairments over time.
Symptoms of Overuse Injuries:
Pain – Discomfort usually gradually gives way to pain, but this is not always the case. Sometimes a feeling of tightness or a very dull ache will suddenly become sharp, but the underlying cause is still overuse.
Swelling – Warmth, redness and extreme tenderness are hallmark signs of inflammation.
Weakness or Compromised Form – If you’re unable to run without hiking your hips, or you’re arching your back while you swing for the tennis ball, your body may already be compensating for an overuse injury before you even know it.Anyone who rapidly increases training volume, switches footwear, begins a new sport or alters training terrain could be at risk for an overuse injury. A properly designed training program can reduce your risk, as can slowly ramping up mileage and wearing proper footwear for your chosen sport.
The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem! If your shins are killing you during your runs at six miles, don’t ignore the signs and push for twelve miles! Ice your injury for 12-15 minutes and elevate the area above the level of your heart. Rest until the symptoms subside, and reconsider your training program as soon as possible. Often times, muscle imbalances play a key role in setting the body up for injuries. Stretching tight muscles and strengthening weak muscles are vital components of a properly designed training program. The thing about overuse injuries is that they can become chronic quickly. Once the body becomes stuck in a cycle of chronic inflammation, it is much harder to calm angry tissues down, and you may be sidelined from your sport for much longer than you expected.
If you suspect you have an overuse injury, Catalyst Physical Therapy and Wellness offers free 15 minute injury screens. Our experienced physical therapists will perform a comprehensive and efficient screen of your flexibility, strength and mobility. We can help determine whether your injury requires further evaluation by a physician before you begin physical therapy.
Visit our website today at: http://catalystptandwellness.com or call (619) 501-2195.