A study published in the April 2012 issue of Journal of Athletic Training found that nearly 30 percent of all injuries suffered by college athletes were a result of overuse. When left untreated, overuse injuries can end athletic careers and leave the injured in significant pain. But these types of injuries aren’t just for athletes. Anyone can suffer from the debilitating effects of an overuse injury.
If you suffer from pain, limited range of motion, or reduced function caused by an overuse injury, Kinetic Sports Rehab can help. Our physical rehabilitation specialists help those suffering from injuries ranging from tendonitis to carpal tunnel relieve pain and increase function every day. Contact us to today to find out how we can help.
What Are Overuse Injuries?
An overuse injury occurs gradually. Unlike acute injuries where the damage is caused by a single traumatic event, overuse injuries are typically caused by repetitive use and stress accumulated over a sustained period. In sports, these injuries are most commonly found among those in non-contact or endurance sports, such as long-distance running, swimming, baseball, etc. However, overuse injuries can happen to anyone. Cashiers, receptionists and anyone else that makes the same repetitive motions repeatedly can suffer this type of injury.
Overuse injuries are caused by repeated micro-traumas to soft tissues such as muscles, ligaments and tendons. Every time we make a movement, the tissues in our body suffer microscopic damage. Normally, this damage heals quickly without us ever knowing anything was wrong, but when we repeatedly engage in repetitive movements, the body doesn’t get a chance to heal properly. When that happens, the micro-traumas accumulate and can cause significant pain, tenderness, and lost function.
Common Reasons Overuse Injuries Occur
- Rapid increases in training intensity
- Rapid increases in training or activity duration
- Rapid increases in training or activity frequency
- Using improper technique or form for long durations
- Strength imbalances
- Genetic predisposition
Typical Overuse Injuries
- • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Wrist Tendonitis
- Tennis or Golfers Elbow
- Rotator Cuff Tendonitis
- Stress Fractures
- Shin Splints
- Achilles Tendonitis
Diagnosing Overuse Injuries
Overuse injuries are common, but frustrating because they are often difficult to diagnose. Because the injuries develop gradually, they often leave those suffering and their doctors at a loss. There is no single identifiable reason for the injury and that often leaves people in a state of panic.
Oftentimes, the early warning signs of an overuse injury are barely noticeable, but it’s important to pay attention to what your body is telling you. There are signs that indicate you may be developing an injury; some of the most common signs include:
- Fatigue or lack of strength
- Dull or aching pain
- Sharp, shooting pains
- Constant pain during certain activities
As the injury grows more severe, symptoms also grow more severe. Instead of only experiencing minor aches, you’ll experience pain throughout the duration of the activity causing the injury, and if left untreated, pain will ultimately be present even when you aren’t doing anything at all.
It’s important to be aware of the early signs of overuse injuries. The longer they go unnoticed, the more complicated the injury becomes to treat.
When overuse injuries are recognized early, treatment usually involves a few days of rest to give the area enough time to heal. After that, you should make sure you use proper form and avoid rapid increases in duration, intensity or frequency of the activity that caused the injury.
Unfortunately, many overuse injuries aren’t addressed until there is significant pain or damage. At this point, it can take months for the injury to heal if relying on rest as a treatment. Soft tissue mobilization techniques such as Graston Technique and Active Release Technique have helped patients at Kinetic Sports Rehab get back to their normal routine much more quickly.
Many of the complications from overuse injury are caused by scar tissue that accumulates around the injured area. Excess scar tissue can cause pain, limited range of motion, general discomfort, and slow the healing process. Soft tissue mobilization therapy works by breaking up the scar tissue. Once the scar tissue is removed, range of motion improves, pain decreases, and the pathways soft tissues use to heal and regenerate are unblocked.
Graston Technique and Active Release Technique have proven to be effective at breaking apart the scar tissue surrounding the site of overuse injuries. Both techniques rely on high-pressure manual stroking techniques to break apart pockets of scar tissue. In recent years, both Graston and Active Release have become popular methods of injury treatments in professional and collegiate athletic training rooms. Graston and Active Release treatments have helped athletes return to the field weeks and even months sooner than rest or surgery alone would have.
Soft Tissue Mobilization Therapy in Seattle
Don’t let an overuse injury keep you down. If you’re suffering from a repetitive stress injury, soft tissue mobilization therapy may be able to help you avoid surgery and a lengthy time away from work and the activities that you enjoy. Contact Kinetic Sports Rehab in Seattle today to learn how Graston Technique or Active Release Therapy can help you get back to your normal routine sooner, rather than later.
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