Sometimes our body aches because of the presence of disease, like arthritis or fibromyalgia or various headaches, like migraines. Sometimes, we are in pain because of injuries to the bones or muscles.
There are several common injuries that are typically the result of overuse, either from athletic pursuits, work routines or regular daily life activities. Overuse kind of sneaks up on you. It may start off as a twinge that goes away and over time develops into more constant or consistent pain associated with specific activities.
Frequently occurring overuse injuries are:
- Shin Splints (Leg pain which worsens with running or walking)
- Tennis Elbow/Golfer’s Elbow (weakness and/or pain inside or outside the elbow)
- Runner’s Knee (pain behind the kneecap, made worse with running, walking, jumping, cycling and ascending or descending steps)
- Rotator cuff tendinitis (shoulder pain felt when lifting the arms straight up or in a circular motion like a swimming stroke)
- Plantar Fascitis (usually felt in the feet and ankles upon first waking up)
- Achilles Tendinitis (typically presents as ankle pain)
Overuse injuries are the result of too much exertion, combined with muscle weakness. The major ways to prevent the above injuries include babying yourself a little bit by not hitting the same muscles day after day. When you work out, be sure to warm up before true exertion. Most importantly, after exercising or after a long period of working, take time to stretch and cool down. Be sure you are moving appropriately. Contact a coach or trainer to check your form or consult with a physical therapist to demonstrate what hurts and learn compensating exercising to increase strength, flexibility and reduce pain.
If you are trying to increase exertion or activity, do so gradually, not all in one spurt of activity. If you’ve led a sedentary life, you can’t go from sitting on the couch to running a marathon. Start by adding 15 minutes of exertion and add a maximum of 10 minutes per day.
Being more active is a great goal. Being safe and avoiding overuse injuries should also be a concurrent objective.