Overuse injuries are common in sports of all levels and ages, from your child’s after-school soccer league to the professionals in the NFL. An overuse injury is any muscle or joint injury, such as tendonitis or a stress fracture, that is caused by repetitive trauma. Sports and even some jobs require repetitive motion of muscle groups, and over time these muscles, tendons, and bones can become weakened. Sometimes these injuries are just a nuisance while others can be career-ending if not taken care of appropriately. Follow these easy precautionary measures to avoid overuse injuries.
‘Warm-up’ before stretching and ‘cool-down’ after training
A common mistake made by many is stretching before warming up. Performing a warm-up before stretching increases your heart rate, which sends more blood flow to your muscles and tendons making them stretch more easily. Proper warm-ups include jogging, biking, and jumping rope. You shouldn’t stretch until you have performed a warm-up. Just as important as the ‘warm-up,’ is the ‘cool-down.’ Your cool-down should take place after training. Following the activities of your warm-up, the cool-down is twice as long, but with half the intensity. Performing a cool-down allows your body and muscles to enter a mode of rest gradually.
After your warm-up and cool-down, it is vital to stretch to maintain your muscle’s strength and flexibility. Many injuries can be prevented just by stretching, especially before physical activity. Injuries can occur without stretching due to muscles becoming short and tight during periods of non-movement. When they are called upon abruptly, they are in a weakened state, therefore causing overuse injuries.
Avoid increasing workouts too quickly and training too much
Training excessively and increasing workouts plays a various role depending on what activities you do. For example, if you’re a runner, the rule of thumb is not to increase the amount you run by more than 10% each week- a word of advice is to not push through the pain. Pain is your body’s way of communicating to you that something is wrong, however many times the “I’ll be fine” mentality gets in the way and pain is ignored thus causing injury. If you are ever in excessive pain, don’t question it, seek advice from a pain management specialist.
Simply put, drink water, it’s the stuff you’re made of! Most everyone is aware of the importance water plays in our diet and health, but it is just as important to understand the role water plays on our muscles, tendons, and bones when living an active lifestyle. Being dehydrated amplifies muscle strains and cramps by not providing the electrolytes needed, which are lost in sweat. This can cause tears from abrupt movements. Make sure you are drinking the daily recommended water intake every day, a half-gallon or eight 8-ounce glasses.
Seek pain management help from a doctor or pain specialist
If you are at a point where you are experiencing consistent pain, seeking professional help is the only step to take next. The Associated Pain Specialists Knoxville (APS Knoxville) specialize in helping individuals with pain management.
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Avoiding Overuse Injuries in Sports: Seeking Pain