The vast majority of us have experienced a sharp twinge or dull ache at some point during our exercise routines. However, not all pain is created equal, and the different ways these issues arise impact how they are resolved.
There are two types of injuries that occur: acute and chronic. Acute injuries occur from a specific event to cause the injury, with examples including fractures, ankle sprains and muscle strains. A chronic injury, or “overuse injury”, occurs from repetitive movement that causes micro-trauma to structures like tendons, bones and joints. Overuse injuries often occur from a sport or recreational activity, like epicondylitis from golf or tennis, patellofemoral syndrome from running or hiking, and rotator cuff tendonitis from overhead throwing athletes.
Overuse injuries are not caused by simply participating in the sport, but typically occur from training errors. This can include everything from not having a proper warm up prior to rapid repetitive accelerating movements, to having an excessive training duration with too much frequency throughout the week, to simply having poor form. Any one of these training errors can cause an injury (or they may all be a contributing factor), but the good news is we can help!
If you have already tried everything you can think of without results, the next question is what’s next? That’s easy: Physical Therapy (PT)! If you think you’re on the path of developing or have already developed an overuse injury, it’s time to get an evaluation from a Physical Therapist. PT can provide you with education to better understand what is going on structurally and lead you through therapeutic exercises to improve range of motion and promote stability. Your Physical Therapist can even improve upon your movement patterns to develop better form and performance with your activity than before your injury.
The last tip I’ll leave you with is simple: train smarter. If you’re experiencing mild soreness after activities that has been lingering, it is time to modify your training intensity and duration. If you are training for a specific sport, meet with a coach or trainer to have your form assessed. Begin to work on mobility, strength and core stabilization to prevent your soreness from turning into pain – remember, the goal is to avoid injury in the first place. But, if you begin to develop pain of any kind, it is important that you do not push through it – you can injure yourself even more. If this does not help, visit your local Physical Therapy office. After all, Physical Therapists are specialists in evaluating movement!
Don’t let that little ache turn into something progressive that may side line you in the future. The key is to be proactive and, if you need help, your team at Camelback Sports Therapy is here to serve you!