Learn about overuse injuries, why they occur, and how to prevent them.
Kathy Weber, M.D., M.S. Director of Primary Care Sports Medicine Rush University Medical Center
There seems to be a increase number of sports injuries in recent years, what is the most common cause of these injuries?
The most common cause of sports injuries is overuse. Overuse injuries occur when the musculoskeletal tissue (muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bone) are exposed to repetitive motion, force, or sustained exertion, beyond the normal capabilities of that tissue to adapt or recover, resulting in an injury. Typically the microtrauma (cellular damage) that occurs during exercise is repaired thru normal tissue maintenance i.e. renewal of new cells and cell matrix. An injury occurs when the tissue is not able to adequately keep up with normal repair of activity related tissue microtrauma. At this point, the injury becomes apparent to the athlete when they develop pain and loss of function. It is essential that the principles of slow progression of exercise duration and intensity, appropriate warm-up and cool-down, and adequate rest (recovery) are incorporated into an exercise program to reduce the risk of an overuse injury.