Teenage boy throwing a pitch at a baseball game.

Jul 10, 2015 / Sports Medicine

Stop Overuse Injuries Before They Stop You – Sports Medicine

There are two types of injuries. Acute injuries, which occur suddenly and typically with a single event; and overuse injuries, which are caused by a gradual wearing down over a period of time. With overuse injuries, body tissues become inflamed with repetitive stresses caused by actions like running, jumping and throwing. In some cases, these actions/stresses cause permanent changes and damage. The stress may come from forceful impact with the ground, stretching of sensitive tissues in growing bones or overstretching of soft tissues around the joints. To protect the tissues, resting from the stressful activity is a must, and sometimes other treatment is required. Philip Wilson, M.D., says, “With the right action plan, overuse injuries and long-term complications can be avoided.”

Tips for all young athletes to prevent overuse injuries

  • Focus on proper form. Seek advice from experts to learn proper form. More importantly, stop practicing when fatigue leads to changes in form.
  • Recognize warning signs of overuse injury: pain, swelling and poor form. When these things happen, immediately take a break.
  • Keep a balanced training schedule. Each week, save a day or two for rest. Or switch to different activities that emphasize different body parts and training intensity levels.
  • Participate in more than one sport. Changing movements and training patterns helps to reduce the risk of injury as well as assist with overall athletic development.
  • Know your sport and the risks associated with it. Sports like baseball, volleyball and running are more likely to cause overuse injuries than contact and cutting sports like football, soccer and lacrosse (acute injuries are more common with these).

For information about Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children’s Center for Excellence in Sports Medicine, please visit our Sports Medicine page.

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