Wellness Wednesday: Overuse Injuries

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Loudoun County, Va. —  Overuse injuries can be any chronic condition that stems from repetitive motion or force through a joint that places a significant amount of stress (over time) on the joint or surrounding tissue. These injuries can affect your bone, cartilage, tendons, and muscles. Some injuries produce a constant, dull ache; while others you may feel more of a sharp and pinching pain, depending on the area.

Some examples of overuse injuries

Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome (Shin Splints)

Shin splints may lead to some sort of stress reaction/fracture in the tibia if not taken care of. This isn’t always the case, but it is a possibility without ample rest and strengthening of the right muscles.

Medial/Lateral Epicondylitis (Tennis Elbow)

Untreated medial and lateral epicondylitis may lead to a need for a steroid injection* for temporary management due to severe pain or debridement of degenerated tissue at the site.

*Note: Steroid injections do not heal or correct the injury—they just allow for decreased pain for a temporary time, though the tissue may still be damaged.

Carpal Tunnel

Carpal tunnel, if not treated conservatively early on may lead to a need for surgery to release inflamed tissue in the area.

It may be hard to perform daily activities with each of these depending upon your activity level and workload. While runners may have trouble with shin splints impeding on their exercise, people who type on a computer all day may have trouble completing tasks at work. People with carpal tunnel may notice that they have to “wake and shake” their hands out upon waking up in the morning to restore normal sensation. Shin splints often present with pain while running in the anterior and medial part of their lower leg. Depending on how often you run on shin splints, there may be pain that develops while simply walking, as well as tenderness to touch. Though each of these may seem like mild injuries, letting an injury go too long can lead to more chronic conditions with increased pain and a decrease in function.

Each of these overuse injuries can be treated with physical therapy. Not only will you be educated on how to accommodate your daily activities, but you will also get the tools you need to strengthen the surrounding musculature to help support and heal the area (along with the appropriate manual therapy necessary for any bound or inflamed tissue).

Note from our sponsor: If you’re looking for a way to treat and prevent overuse injuries, call us at, 703-450-4300 and schedule an appointment to help you figure out how to safely and effectively train your players so they aren’t sidelined by injury.

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Loudoun Sports Therapy Center is a premier physical therapy clinic. We offer outpatient orthopedic and sports physical therapy as well as specialty programs.

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