“I’m feeling the burn!”, “I’m making gains!” Expressive statements athletes may make as they launch into new physical activities or ramp up their current workout routine. When starting a new repetitive activity or rapidly advancing a training program, the risk of developing an overuse injury increases. Some of the most common overuse injuries are tennis elbow, runner’s knee, Achilles’ tendonitis, rotator cuff tendonitis, shin splints, and stress fractures.
When the physical stress of exercising overwhelms the body’s ability to recover or remodel, damaging breakdown occurs. Remodeling involves the breakdown and buildup of tissue during the recovery phase of training and is extremely important to prevent overuse injuries.
Fortunately, these types of injuries can be prevented with proper training, adequate rest, and good nutrition. Most overuse injuries develop in the first few weeks of training. Listening to body signals like pain, and trying not to push through it can prevent injuries. More intense discomfort means the body is unable to remodel and is overwhelmed. Athletes can prevent stress injuries by avoiding large weekly increases in their exercise program and by avoiding exercising everyday.
Setting new fitness goals is great! By working with a doctor, trainer, coach, and/or physical therapist to help ease into a new activity or advance a current training program, these goals can be met without injuries.