February 06, 2020

Overuse injuries are common in many sports. They are injuries that occur when a person or athlete has been exposed to an increased level of training load, tight competition schedules and/or an insufficient recovery time. Commonly these injuries occur with repetitive movements or high impact actions such as running and jumping.

Generally, symptoms have a gradual onset commencing with a niggle which players can push through. As a player continues training or playing increased pressure is placed on the site of injury resulting in an inability to adequately heal the injury site.

Living in Nillumbik these overuse injuries are particularly common, as our community generally live an active lifestyle and have many sporting teams and many weekend tournaments. For instance, the Eltham wildcats have the Australia day tournament that happened over Australia Day and Eltham High School has a weeklong national volleyball tournament at the end of the year for their athletes. During these tournaments it is not unusual for overuse injuries to occur in athletes due to the high impact nature of these sports.

Commonly overuse injuries occur as stress fractures in foot/ shin bones, as well as tendinopathies occurring in patella and achilles tendons. Although many other areas of the body can have overuse reactions, these two areas are very commonly present to OHL Physio and Podiatry teams. Some examples of overuse injuries include, Achilles tendinopathy, metatarsal stress fractures in the foot and Patellar tendinopathy (Jumper knees) in the knee.

So, how do we prevent these injuries from occurring during a tournament and as you increase activity as school activities return? The best way to prevent these injuries is through a good preparation including regular training schedules that have an adequate strength component, warm up and cool down.  

During a tournament such as the Australia day weekend tournament and/or commencement of all sports at the start of Term 1, the best prevention is still an appropriate and specific warm up program that activates muscles, has a dynamic component and slowly builds over a 15-20min period. Accompanying this post game, a cool down/recovery that incorporates a slow reduction in speed, some gentle stretching, rolling and icing as appropriate ensures the muscles can recover adequately and reduces the chance of injury. Managing other factors such as an appropriate diet, hydration and sleep are also vital to ensure your body recovers adequately.  

At OHL our team of high trained professionals are trained to help you both prevent and manage overuse injuries if they do occur. Our Physiotherapists can give you guidance to improve your teams warm up and general strength to ensure you have the best outcomes in months of higher intensity. Our Dietitian Bonnie can help you in best preparing and guiding your food intake prior to and during tournaments. If you or someone you know is suffering from an overuse injury or would like to be better prepared and perform at a high level, our clinical team would love to meet you.


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