What Are Overuse Injuries?

Ice-pack on aching elbow

Overuse injuries are relatively common, but often ignored. These are the result of damage that occurs from overuse or repetitive use of a certain body part. Such injuries are also known as cumulative trauma disorders or repetitive strain disorders, like tennis elbow, tendonitis, and carpal tunnel . Tissue damage caused by repetitive use over time can be addressed with the help of an orthopaedic doctor.

  • How These Injuries Occur

Overuse injuries are the result of gradual damage, which stems from repetitive movement. This generally occurs when training for or participating in some sort of athletic event. Many athletes sustain these types of injuries as a result of constant training and participation in physical activities. These injuries become painful quickly and can cause severe damage if left untreated. Any type of long-term activity that is performed over and over can result in an overuse injury; even typing can lead to injury.

  • How They Are Diagnosed

Overuse injuries generally present pain in the affected area. Runners may experience discomfort in the feet or legs. Strain to muscles occurs because the body is not given enough time to properly heal before exercise is resumed. Carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow, tendonitis, and shin splints are all categorized as overuse injuries. An orthopaedic doctor will evaluate the area that is presenting pain and look for inflammation and general tissue damage. When paired with the type of behavior that is categorized as overuse, these symptoms are sufficient enough for a diagnosis.

  • How Overuse Injuries are Treated

Overuse injury treatment can vary based on the severity of the symptoms. Generally, use of the hand, wrist, leg, or other body part is prohibited or restricted; doctors may recommend that their patients only use the injured body part under supervision. Hot and cold compresses and elevations are also utilized. The orthopaedic doctor will check to see if an error in technique has caused this issue; from there, the patient should work to correct or vary his or her activities to prevent future injury. In severe cases, physical therapy or orthopaedic surgery is also a treatment option.

If you suspect you may be suffering from an overuse injury, then contact MK Orthopaedics at (815) 741-6900. Our orthopaedic surgeons also specialize in hip and knee replacements.

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