Overuse Injuries!


The smell of spring is in the air, which can mean only 1 thing. Summer is nearly here! It also means that some of us will be playing catch up. That is, trying to “catch up” for not spending as much time training in the winter months as we would have liked. It would have been nice to live by the  phrase “summer bodies are created in winter” no longer applies. At Equilibrium Sports and Spinal clinic we are treating a lot more “overuse injuries  as a result. So what is an over use injury?

An overuse injuries refer to specific injuries, which are sustained from repetitive action (e.g. long distance jogging) as opposed to acute injuries, which occur in an instant (e.g. sprained ankle).

When we exercise, stress is applied to your body. In normal function, your body adapts by strengthening the area this stress is applied, i.e. to your bones muscles and tendons. Here we see the body adapting by developing stronger muscles and tendons and an increase in bone density

BUT, if this equilibrium between stress and adaption is interrupted, the body is unable to cope, leading to degeneration, micro tearing and ultimately inflammation and injury.

This disruption to the normal adaptation is caused by 2 reasons:

  1. Too much too soon – a rapid increase in the intensity frequency and duration of training or
  2. A sudden increase in load. Trying to catch up for lost time. Pushing too hard in the early return phase.

Of course there are other aspects to consider which may impact your overuse injury. These include but are not limited to:

  • Poor technique
  • Bio-mechanical issues
  • Incorrect equipment
  • Muscular imbalance – Compensation patterns
  • Change of training Venue – Inside Vs Outside.

So what are some common overuse injuries?

  • Plantar Fasciitis / Achilles tendonitis                            Osteitis Pubis
  • Stress Facture                                                                   Shin Splints
  • ITB syndrome                                                                   Tennis / Golf Elbow
  • Shoulder Bursitis  / Rotator Cuff Syndrome               Patella Tendonitis

Signs / Symptoms:

Often the first sign may be stiffness or soreness (especially in the morning) which may disappear with an adequate warm-up. Continued use may cause continued damage and the pain will last through and past warm-up and may be even worse after activity is finished.

The Four Stages of an Overuse Injury are:

Stage 1:

         Discomfort that disappears during warm-up – Allows you to continue training as long as the symptoms do not increase

Stage 2:

        Discomfort that may disappear during warm-up but reappears at the end of activity – Activity can be continued at a modified level whilst treatment occurs.

Stage 3:

       Discomfort that gets worse during the activity – Immediate stop of activity and return based on treatment outcomes.

Stage 4

      Pain or discomfort all the time – No activity.  return to activity until given approval by treating therapist.


Identifying the injury in the early stages general leads to the best outcomes. With proper treatment and advice there should be minimal interruption to your training schedule. Left untreated, your injury will progress almost certainly requiring time on the side lines.

Treatment typically involves a thorough assessment of your training program, your biomechanics, equipment and technique. An over view of your intensity, duration and frequency is essential in identifying your aggravating factors and eliminating these. This in conjunction with hands on therapy to correct the imbalances and dysfunction’s that have occurred. A change to your training program, such as the introduction of cross training is another option. Be sure to seek advice in regards to technique, intensity duration and frequency of your new activity as this may lead to a new array of problems and pain.

Most overuse injuries can be prevented or avoided with adequate treatment and proper training loads. Learn to listen to your body. Remember that “no pain, no gain” does not apply here. The 10% rule is very helpful in determining how to take things to the “next level.” In general, you should not increase your training program or activity more than 10 percent per week. This allows your body adequate time for recovery and response.

Always remember to warm up and cool down properly before and after activity. Incorporating strength training, increasing flexibility, and improving core stability will also help minimize overuse injuries

As with anything, prevention is always better than cure. Seeking treatment early is the key to injury prevention. Working with your therapist to identity your weakness, and alleviate any soreness or dysfunction is paramount to your success on the track.

Ensure you give yourself the best chance of an injury free Spring and Summer campaign. Book in today with one of our therapists and let us help guide you to a better, injury free summer!

Equilibrium Sports and Spinal therapists are all highly skilled and experienced in treating a wide variety of sporting injuries.

If you would like to speak to anyone of our therapists about your approach to training or any other issue, please feel free to ask a question by call 9500 2030 or via email at: [email protected]

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