Physical therapists offer tips on how to avoid overdoing it when exercising

parkville physical therapists overuse injuries

October 19, 2017

When it comes to exercise, many people just can’t seem to do as much as they’d like to, no matter how hard they try. But then there’s another group of individuals that exist on the other side of the spectrum: the go-getters who exercise on a nearly-constant basis. This may not sound like a bad thing, since exercise is good, and that means more exercise is better, right? Well, this may be true to an extent, but exercising too frequently or too intensely without taking enough time to recover can actually lead to a range of problems. These types of training errors will often result in an overuse injury, but our physical therapists have some useful tips that will help you avoid them.

There is an incredibly large number of injuries the human body can sustain, but they all generally fall into one of two categories: acute injuries and overuse injuries. Acute injuries usually result from a single, traumatic event, such as a fall, slip or collision with another athlete or object. Some common examples of acute injuries include wrist fractures, ankle sprains, shoulder dislocations and hamstring strains.

Overuse injuries, on the other hand, usually tend to occur gradually over time rather than on the spot. They are more common than acute injuries but are also subtler, and these factors make them more challenging to diagnose and treat. Training too hard and pushing your body past its limits will result in small trauma—or microtrauma—to the tendons, bones and joints, and this is the beginning of an overuse injury. If this continues for long enough, an overuse injury will occur. Some of the most common examples of these types of injuries include tennis elbow, swimmer’s elbow, runner’s knee, jumper’s knee, Achilles tendinitis and shin splints.

Since overuse injuries develop slowly and often over a long period of time, many athletes miss certain indicative signs. If you are having constant pain or soreness, difficulty during workouts, an increased heart rate when not working out, difficulty sleeping or eating, or are getting sick regularly or losing too much weight, these are all signs of an overuse injury developing. But there are ways to avoid this from occurring in the first place. Our physical therapists recommend the following tips:

How to avoid overdoing it in your training from our physical therapists

  • Get a physical before you take on any new form of exercise or if you plan on increasing your intensity to make sure you’re physically capable of doing so
  • Make sure your shoes are in good shape and not worn out, since that can increase the chances of an injury
  • If you start to notice regular pain, scale back your exercise routine; try varying your intensity and changing it up with different forms of exercise for variation
  • If the pain becomes too much to bear and you can no longer complete your workouts, you may need a break; take a few days or a week off from exercise completely and see how you feel afterwards
  • For pain that continues on even after taking a break, you should definitely come visit us for a full-scale evaluation

Here at CAM Physical Therapy and Wellness Services, we completely understand the desire to exercise your hardest and to push yourself as far as possible, but we want you to be safe and smart while doing so. Keep these tips in mind if you’re planning in upping the ante in your routine, and if you notice any lingering pain, our physical therapists can help. Contact us at 301-776-9443 to schedule an appointment at any of our four clinics in Laurel, Hyattsville or Glenn Dale/Bowie MD, today, or click here for more information on overuse injuries.