It doesn't matter if you're a great athlete or have a physical job; you're at risk of an overuse injury.
But what is an overuse injury? Why should you be mindful of them?
Here's what to know about these painful injuries, how best to avoid them, and how to recover and treat them.
An overuse injury, also known as a repetitive strain injury or overuse syndrome, is caused by repeating the same movement or activity repeatedly.
These injuries are typically seen in people who engage in activities that require repetitive motion, such as athletes, musicians, and office workers.
Overuse injuries can affect any part of the body, but they are most commonly seen in the shoulders, wrists, hands, and knees.
Anyone can be at risk for an overuse injury. But some people may be more prone to these injuries due to their occupation or activities.
Some factors that may increase the risk of an overuse injury include:
People who engage in activities that require repetitive motion, such as athletes, musicians, and office workers, may be more at risk for overuse injuries.
Using improper techniques when performing a particular activity can increase the risk of an overuse injury.
Instead, studying and using proper techniques can make a world of difference. Regardless if it's working on a sports technique or lifting boxes properly.
Failing to properly warm up or cool down before and after physical activity, like running, can increase the risk of an overuse injury.
Poor posture can strain specific muscles and joints, increasing the risk of an overuse injury.
Good posture involves keeping your body balanced and upright, placing the least strain on your muscles and joints. Here are some tips for maintaining good posture:
A history of previous injuries, particularly in the same body part, may increase the risk of future overuse injuries.
Older individuals may be more at risk for overuse injuries due to changes in muscle mass and flexibility that occur with age. That's why getting your annual physical is crucial as you age.
Here are a few ways in which age can affect muscles and increase the risk of strains:
These changes increase the chance of these painful injuries but can also lead to chronic health conditions. Again, meeting with your doctor regularly can help you with injury prevention.
Now that we know some risk factors for these painful injuries, what are the chief symptoms?
The symptoms of an overuse injury may vary depending on the specific body part affected and the injury's severity. Some common symptoms of an overuse injury include:
The affected body part may feel sore, tender, or achy, especially after repeating the same movement or activity.
The affected area may become swollen or inflamed, which can cause discomfort and difficulty using the body part.
The affected body part may feel stiff or difficult to move, particularly after periods of inactivity.
The affected area may feel weak or fatigued, making it difficult to perform certain activities.
Some people with overuse injuries may experience numbness, tingling, or a "pins and needles" sensation in the affected area.
It may be difficult to perform certain activities or movements with the affected body part, even if they were previously easy to do.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is vital to see a healthcare provider for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.
Ignoring these symptoms can lead to further damage and longer recovery times. Atlanta urgent care providers at WestideMed medical professionals help treat overuse injuries and the symptoms that appear from repetitive movements.
Treatment for an overuse injury typically involves a combination of rest, physical therapy, and medications. The specific treatment plan will depend on the injury's severity and the affected body part. Some common treatments for overuse injuries include:
Resting the affected body part is often the first step in treating an overuse injury. Sleep and rest are crucial not only for relieving symptoms but for an overall better quality of life.
Besides a good night's sleep, resting may involve a combination of a few solutions. Taking a break from the activity or movement that caused the injury, using crutches or other assistive devices is helpful—or maybe wearing a splint or brace to support the affected area.
Physical therapy can help to stretch and strengthen the muscles, tendons, and other tissues in the affected area. This can help to reduce pain, improve mobility, and prevent future injuries.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen or naproxen, can help to reduce inflammation and pain. A corticosteroid injection may be recommended in severe cases to reduce inflammation and promote healing.
Applying ice to the affected area can help to reduce swelling and numb pain. Heat can also help reduce stiffness and increase blood flow to the affected area.
In rare cases, surgery may be necessary to repair damaged tendons, ligaments, or bones.
Working with a healthcare provider to determine the best treatment plan for your specific overuse injury is essential. When you meet with an urgent care or primary care doctor in Atlanta, it's important to follow the recommended treatment plan. This ensures a full recovery and prevents further damage.
At WestsideMed, patients who experience a sudden injury can get expert advice from our Atlanta primary care and urgent care providers.
Don't let overuse injuries ruin your day-to-day life; get medical help in a welcoming, efficient environment.
At WestsideMed, our small but dedicated staff is well-versed in treating numerous strains, sprains, illnesses, and more.
Are you experiencing a painful stress fracture or other injuries? Stop into our walk-in urgent care clinic in Atlanta today for assistance.