The Best Game Plan to Avoid Overuse Injuries

Robert G. Parker
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Dr. Parker is a podiatrist and surgeon in Houston, TX who has been helping patients for more than 40 years.
Avoid Overuse Injuries

We’re reminded of the old adage, “too much of a good thing” often in the summertime! Overindulging in ice cream can make you feel sick. Enjoying time outside for too long can leave you sunburned. Well, guess what? Too much exercise can cause problems, too. On top of tender skin and tummy aches, you can add overuse injuries like plantar fasciitis, shin splints, and stress fractures to the list of issues resulting from overdoing something that should be done in moderation.

There are two main reasons these types of sports injuries occur: Improper training and poor technique.

You can avoid overuse injuries by avoiding these training errors:

  • Taking on too much physical activity too quickly. When you increase intensity and duration of exercise too fast, your muscles aren’t prepared and can become strained or torn.
  • Doing the same type of exercise without a break. This puts continuous stress on the same muscles and bones, so they never have time to recover. Eventually this repetitive stress can cause muscles to tear and bones to crack under pressure.
  • Wearing the wrong shoes. If your shoes aren’t made for the sport, don’t fit properly, or are unable to provide the cushion and support you need, an overuse injury is bound to happen!
  • Skipping the warm up. If you don’t prepare your muscles for the physical activity you’re about to put them through, they can remain tight and easily pull and become strained.

You can also prevent problems by addressing poor technique, such as:

  • Bad form that goes uncorrected. This overloads muscles and causes them to go through unfamiliar motions repeatedly, making them prone to injury.
  • Ignoring structural and biomechanical abnormalities. Such issues can mess with your ability to go through your gait cycle (the way in which you step) correctly, resulting in overstressed areas of your feet and an increased risk of injury.

With all this in mind, the best game plan to avoid an overuse injury is to make sure you warm up, gradually build upon your fitness routine, wear good shoes, and cross-train by incorporating low-impact activities like yoga or swimming into your exercise program. In addition, practice proper form and get help from a trainer or coach if you need it. Finally, slip some custom orthotics in your shoes to hold your feet in correct alignment and help normalize your gait.  

Follow these guidelines to stay injury-free, but if you do get hurt or need us for any reason, don’t hesitate to call! You can reach our Houston, TX office by dialing (281) 497-2850.

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