Sports and training injuries can occur in many different joints and muscles in the body, the most common injuries occur in the knees, shoulder, and lower back; they can either be overuse or acute injuries. The difference between the two types of injury is that overuse injuries are generally self-treatable (if they are recognized early enough). Overuse injuries can occur in areas of the bone, tendons, muscles, and nerve tissue. Exercise applies a certain amount of stress to the body. If the stress is too overloading in one area that the body is not used to, an overuse injury can occur. Signs of an overuse injury can range from swelling of a particular area, redness, impaired function, soreness, or pain/irritability with exercise. The pain may not always be noticeable at all times and can disappear after warm-ups, so it is important to pay attention to your body and any pain you may be feeling.
Common knee overuse injuries are runner’s knee, tendonitis, and iliotibial band syndrome. Runner’s knee occurs as the shock absorbing abilities of the knee begins to break down. Tendonitis can occur in other areas other than just the knee; it refers to the overuse of the muscle tendon which causes irritation, pain and swelling. Iliotibial band syndrome (runs down the outer side of the knee), can rub against the bone and cause pain and irritation. –
The shoulder is another key area for overuse injuries to occur. Some of the most common include frozen shoulder, tendonitis, bursitis, and muscle strain. Frozen shoulder causes pain and stiffness in the shoulder and it becomes increasingly difficult to move without help. It occurs as the shoulder capsule thickens and becomes tight. The stiff bands of tissue (adhesions) develop and less fluid is moved through the joint. Bursitis is the inflammation of a bursa (a small cushioned sac that protects moving structures- muscles, bones, tendons). When it is inflamed it cannot protect these moving areas from stress or fray. A muscle strain is a twist, pull or tear of a muscle or tendon. It is accompanied by pain, swelling, muscle spasms, inflammation, and weakness of the muscle. It also can also differ by intensity from mild, moderate to severe.
The lower back is an area especially susceptible to injury; common overuse injuries include: muscle strain and sciatica. A muscle strain is an overstretched or torn muscle that is very common in the lower back especially, but can also occur in other parts of the body. Back strain is often accompanied by the muscles stiffening and inflammation that could cause muscles spasms. The pain is often gradual. Sciatica is another common overuse injury in the lower back. Sciatica is a pain that occurs in the sciatic nerve that runs from your lower back through the buttocks and down through each leg. The pain can vary from a mild ache to excruciating pain. It often has a burning or shocking sensation, although in some cases in may result in a slight numbness, tingling, or muscle weakness. It is caused by the sciatic nerve being pinched by a herniated or ruptured disk in the spine
How do I treat overuse injuries?
Overuse injuries can be self-treated. If you feel any pain or discomfort here are some steps you can take to ensure a full recovery without further injury: (The RICE method)
Rest: take the time to rest your injured area by reducing or stopping exercises
Ice: the area for 20 minutes at a time several times a day if possible
Compression: wrap the affected area
Elevate: the area on a pillow so it is above the heart
Once the pain begins to subside, you should begin stretching and strengthening the affected area. Although, if pain returns or worsens, stop the strengthening and stretching exercises and start the RICE process again. If the pain worsens the best option would to seek intervention from a healthcare practionner such as a chiropractor or physiotherapist.
Here at the North York Madison Clinic, sports related injuries are a major focus of our practice. We have a variety of therapies and highly skilled professionals to help you prevent and recover from sports injuries. Our goal is to help patients reach and maintain their optimum health! On staff we have a chiropractor, three registered massage therapists, a physiotherapist, a naturopathic doctor, and a kinesiologist. The team works to change the biomechanics that tend to cause overuse injuries. The knees are an area in which we can change your biomechanics through custom made orthotics that will change how weight and form is impacting your knees. The shoulder along with most other areas can be helped with the use of ultrasound procedure which helps remove scar tissue in the area. Soft tissue therapy is also useful to help take the tension off of an area by removing scar tissue and allow the overuse injury to diminish. The practioner’s here at the Madison Sports Injury and Rehabilitation Clinic, teach stretches and exercises to help take stress off of certain areas and thereby training the muscles change the stresses that are affecting the body in a negative way.