Overuse; is that a thing?

What is an overuse injury and how can I prevent them?

There are basically two types of injuries; acute and overuse injuries. Acute injuries are usually the result of a single event and can include ankle sprains, muscle strains and bone breaks. Overuse injuries on the other hand are often subtle, occur over a period of time, and are the result of repetitive micro trauma to the tendons, bones and joints. Common overuse injuries include tendinopathies, stress fractures and plantar fasciitis.

The human body has an amazing ability to adapt to physical stresses, however when the load being applied is too great for the tissue to withstand, it becomes stressed and microtears occur. When under stress our body’s structures undergo remodelling, which involves both the breakdown and buildup of tissue. It is when the breakdown occurs more rapidly than build up, an overuse injury occurs.

There are a couple of risk factors which can cause an overuse injury, however training errors are the most common cause. These errors involve but are not limited to:

  • Sudden increase in training load (intensity, frequency and duration)
  • No rest day
  • Too much too soon (usually seen in beginner runners)
  • Returning to sport after injury and pushing themselves too hard/inappropriate rehabilitation
  • Improper technique

Other risk factors that make people more prone to overuse injuries include, muscle imbalances around joints, body alignment (limb length and high or low arched feet) and a history of previous injuries. Footwear is another important factor to consider when training, as poor unsupportive footwear can enhance the effects of biomechanical abnormalities and the amount of stress and load being applied to the body.

Overuse injuries can easily be avoided with proper training and equipment. Try not to increase your training at a rate over 10% per week, this includes intensity, duration, frequency, weight etc. Always focus on technique, especially when you are feeling tired or fatigued. And most importantly, if you do start to feel pain or suspect injury, cease activity and seek assistance from a health professional. Early identification and treatment will allow you to continue with your activity if you follow a well planned, personalised rehabilitation program.

If you are experiencing any sort of injury, or want to know more about our specific neuromuscular retraining/rehabilitation programs, feel free to contact us at Align Health Collective Podiatrists and Physiotherapists to chat to one of our Podiatrists in Kew, Podiatrists in Oakleigh, Physiotherapists in Kew, or Physiotherapists in Oakleigh. You can book an appointment online with one of our podiatrists at www.alignhc.com.au or call us on (03) 9568 1011.

Overuse Injuries