Orthopedic Specialists

The Most Common Overuse Injuries (Symptoms, Prevention, & Treatment)

April 12, 2023

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No matter the intensity level of the sport you enjoy playing, overuse injuries are one of the most common sports injuries in orthopedic medicine. Overuse injuries (also known as repetitive strain injuries and overuse syndrome) are chronic injuries that can vary widely in severity. However, if left untreated, even minor overuse injuries can lead to chronic pain and mobility issues.

If you lead an active lifestyle, knowing what common overuse injuries look like and how to prevent them is vital to staying active and healthy.

Shin Splints

Shin splints (also known as medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS)) occur when the muscles and tendons around your shin become overworked. 

Shin Splint Symptoms

Symptoms of shin splints include:

  • Tenderness, soreness, or pain along the inner side of your shinbone 
  • Swelling in the lower leg 

Ways To Prevent Shin Splints

The best ways to prevent shin splints include:

  • Wearing supportive shoes when running
    • Including shoe orthotics (inserts)
  • Avoiding hard, uneven surfaces when running
  • Stretching properly before and after exercising 

Shin Splint Treatments

Treatments for shin splints include:

  • Rest
  • Icing your shins
  • Anti-inflammatory medicines (such as Ibuprofen, etc.)

Patellar Tendonitis (Jumper’s Knee)

Patellar tendonitis (also known as jumper’s knee) is an injury to the tissue connecting the kneecap to the shin.

Jumper's Knee Symptoms

Symptoms of jumper’s knee include:

  • Pain and tenderness around your kneecap
  • Chronic pain when walking, running, and/or jumping 
  • Swelling around your kneecap

Ways To Prevent Jumper's Knee

The best ways to prevent jumper’s knee include: 

  • Wearing supportive shoes that fit properly 
    • Including shoe orthotics (inserts)
  • Stretching properly before and after exercising

Jumper's Knee Treatments

Treatments for jumper’s knee include:

  • The RICE method (rest, ice, compression, and elevation)
  • Anti-inflammatory medicines (such as Ibuprofen, etc.)
  • Knee stretching and strengthening exercises 

Tennis Elbow/Golfer's Elbow

Tennis elbow (also known as lateral epicondylitis) is a type of tendonitis – swelling of the tendons – that causes pain in the elbow and arm and can eventually result in microscopic tears in the tissue. Tennis elbow is the most common reason people see their doctors for elbow pain.

Tennis Elbow Symptoms

Symptoms of tennis elbow include:

  • Pain on the outside of your elbow into your forearm and wrist  
  • Elbow weakness
  • Reduced range of motion in the arm

Ways To Prevent Tennis Elbow

The best ways to prevent tennis elbow include:

  • Taking rest breaks when performing activities that include frequent, repetitive elbow/arm motions
  • Completing gentle tennis elbow exercises to stretch and straighten your arm
  • Wearing elbow braces if your job/activity is especially prone to tennis elbow/golfer’s elbow

Tennis Elbow Treatments 

Treatments for tennis elbow include:

  • Nonsurgical treatments
    • Rest, anti-inflammatory medications, tennis elbow braces, ice and heat therapy, and steroid injections
  • Tennis elbow surgery

Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis (also known as policeman’s heel) is an inflammation of the thick band of tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes. Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain.

Plantar Fascitis Symptoms

Symptoms of plantar fasciitis include:

  • Stabbing pain in the bottom of your foot near the heel

Ways To Prevent Plantar Fascitis

The best ways to prevent plantar fasciitis include:

  • Wearing athletic shoes that properly support your arches 
  • Using orthotics (inserts) to correct problems (such as low arches)
  • Stretch, rest, and ice your arches

Plantar Fascitis Treatments

Treatments for plantar fasciitis include:

  • RICE method
  • Anti-inflammatory medicines 
  • PRP injections
  • Physical therapy 

Expert Sports Medicine Care at a Premier Injury Clinic

Orthopedic Specialists offers advanced surgical and nonsurgical care for orthopedic injuries of all types. Learn more about our physical therapy services, orthopedic support equipment, and PRP injection services today! 

From diagnosis and treatment to ongoing care, Orthopedic Specialists can help put your injury behind you so you can get back to playing the sports you love!

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