Unfortunately, the road to becoming strong and fit hits an occasional speed bump. The culprit is often an overuse injury. These injuries not only restrict your fitness routine, but often are very painful as well. Sometimes referred to as repetitive stress or cumulative trauma disorders, these injuries are sadly common but frequently preventable.
Overuse injuries occur when a movement is excessively repeated or performed over time. Common overuse injuries include tendonitis (inflammation of the tendon), jumper's knee, shin splints, tennis elbow, low back strain, runner's knee and carpal tunnel syndrome.
During exercise, stresses are placed on muscles, bones, tendons, ligaments, nerves and joints. The body is made to sustain these stresses, but sometimes there isn't enough time allotted for rest or recovery. This causes wear and tear on the body, injuring the overused area.
Poor technique, such as incorrect movement continuously repeated, is another cause of overuse injuries. For example, performing squats with an improper knee position over a period of time may cause injury to the ligaments supporting the knee joint.
Strength, flexibility and anatomical imbalances can also predispose a person to overuse injuries. Improper body alignment, poor posture, high or flat arches in the foot, and past injuries also contribute to overuse injuries.
Follow these steps to help prevent overuse injuries:
* When beginning a new exercise program or activity, seek the assistance of a professional, such as a personal trainer, to design a program.
* If you are restarting an activity or fitness routine after taking time off, start slowly. Allow your body to get reacquainted with being active again.
* Listen to your body. Your body will tell you when something just doesn't seem right. Pain does not always mean gain.
* If you are unsure how to safely perform a particular exercise or activity, consult a physician, fitness professional or coach.
Fitness is something achieved and maintained over a lifetime; don't sell yourself short by overreaching short-term goals.