Have you ever had the sensation when some of your muscles feel tender and stiff, and you’re not quite sure what caused it? If you are experiencing cramping or weak muscles, and they aren’t the result of one specific incident, you could be suffering from an overuse injury.
What are Overuse Injuries?
There are two types of injuries: acute injuries and overuse injuries.
Acute injuries occur after one single event. For example: you fall and sprain your ankle. In this case, you can directly connect spraining your ankle to that one fall.
Overuse injuries, on the other hand, occur over time as a result of repetitive trauma to a specific part of the body. You’ve probably heard of conditions like tennis elbow and runner’s knee because these are common overuse injuries. In tennis, your arm is doing most of the work, so it makes sense that most tennis players would injure their elbow. For runner’s knee, running puts a lot of pressure on your knees, causing the pain.
Overuse injuries typically occur in the muscles and tendons surrounding a joint or bone. Your muscles will feel stiff and tender, and you may experience some tingling. Additionally, your muscles may cramp up.
The difficulty with overuse injuries is that they’re difficult to diagnose. When we exercise, we expect to feel a certain amount of pain during or after the workout. When we experience pain during an exercise, we assume it’s related to our muscles working hard. When we experience pain after a workout, it’s typically because we’re sore. Because we know there’s a certain level of pain associated with leading an active lifestyle, it can be difficult to differentiate being sore and having an overuse injury.
How to Avoid Overuse Injuries
Avoiding overuse injuries is all about understanding your body’s limits. Some people are capable of undergoing more physical stress (exercise) than others. It’s important to listen to your body to avoid overdoing it.
Many people want to work out every day, however, it’s best if you allow your body a day of rest and recuperation in between workouts. If you’re set on working out every day, try alternating between intense workouts and easier workouts. This will allow your body some time to prepare for your next intense workout.
If you think you’ve suffered an overuse injury, the good news is that you can self-treat. Recovering from your overuse injury will require you to rest, ice, and elevate the affected area. If the pain persists after three to five days, you should consult a medical professional.
If you think an overuse injury is keeping you from your favorite activities, contact us today! Our therapists will help you recover from your injury so you can get back to doing what you love.