Preventing Overuse Injuries

Athletes and anyone that exercises regularly can be susceptible to injury because of imbalances in their body structure and/ or body mechanics. Without correction of these imbalances, there is an increased risk of repeated injuries.


Some of these imbalances are:

  • Lumbar deformities like lordosis (exaggerated curvature of the spine) or kyphosis (“hunchback”) puts one at greater risk of back pain.
  • Pronation (excessive rolling in of the feet) can cause knee pain and ankle instability.

Pain with overuse injuries is often worse with activity that works the imbalance and stops when the activity ceases. Many times people do not stop with they feel pain when exercising but decide to “work through it”.  This aggravates the condition, leading to further pain, swelling, and inflammation.


Overuse injuries also occur when there is not a proper rest period between intense workout days.   Intense workouts causes small tears in muscles and also uses up stored energy called glycogen. It can take more than two days for the body to repair these tears and even longer to replace the glycogen.


If you workout daily, it is best to alternate exercises that work different muscle groups on consecutive days. At the least, if you work one muscle group intensely one day, put less pressure on that muscle the next day.


Basic Rules for preventing injury includes:

  • Warm up- exercise at a relaxed pace for a few minutes until blood circulation warms the muscles. Warming up loosens and strengthens muscles causing you to become more flexible and resistant to injury.
  • Stretch- stretching elongates the muscles and increases range of motion. Stretching should be done after warm up and after exercise.
  • Cool down- gradually slow down exercise before stopping. When you have a strenuous workout blood can pool in the legs. Gradually slowing down keeps a continuous circulation. This helps prevent dizziness and fainting after workouts. Also, the blood circulation flushes out lactic acid from the bloodstream.


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