Overuse injuries are distinct from such commonplace trauma injuries as sprains, strains, broken bones and concussions. They are specific to the parts of the body most used during the athletic endeavour. These body areas can include the knees of athletes in sports that require running and jumping, such as basketball and soccer.
The overuse injury is caused by repetitive micro-trauma caused by chronic use of a specific body part, coupled with an inadequate time for rest and healing. But overuse injuries can be prevented if athletes and parents take precautions and familiarize themselves with the symptoms.
Don’t push through the pain. Young athletes should never be encouraged to “tough it out” and ignore pain. While pain may just be the sign of a sore, tired muscle, it can also be the first clue to an overuse injury. Players should stop and rest and gradually return to the activity, if the pain subsides. If it persists, see The Podiatrist.
Remember to rest. It’s under-rated, but rest is key to injury prevention and on-field success. The multi-tasking athlete who runs from school to practice to individualized training sessions, while still trying to keep up in school, needs to find time for eight hours of sleep and the occasional day off from the activity to stay injury-free.
Don’t forget to stay hydrated. Water is best for hydration during athletic activities under an hour. Consider electrolyte-enhanced sports drinks for longer bouts of activity – more than an hour – and for repeated activity in the same day.
Encourage your children to engage in multiple sports and athletic activities. Not only do the kids learn different skills, but they also develop and work complementary muscle groups while resting others. It is suggested to forgo specialization in sports until adolescence or puberty.
While prevention techniques like stopping play and getting rest are keys to avoiding overuse injuries, ice is helpful when applied to the affected area 15 to 20 minutes at a time. Injuries occur in many patients early in the new season, when kids may try and do too much too soon. Be sure to increase practice and playing time gradually.
If you are suffering from an overuse injury, please give us a call at The Podiatrist
We are happy to answer any questions you may have.
One of the most common problems doctors see with hockey players and other frequent skaters is Haglund’s deformity, which is also known as a “retrocalcaneal spur.” This spur occurs at the Achilles tendon, just behind the heel bone.
Haglund’s deformity is different than a traditional heel spur, which is more common and found underneath the heel. However, if either is ever suspected, both conditions must be ruled out with an x-ray evaluation.
For those who don’t know, a heel spur is a bone outgrowth of the heel bone that is often very hard and painful. It can occur under the heel or at the back, where the Achilles tendon attaches itself to the heel bone. When this area is examined and palpated, there is a feeling of hardness rather than the typical suppleness of a healthy Achilles tendon.
Typically, an episode of tendonitis will also have occurred with Haglund’s deformity, which makes a skater more prone to suffering a recurrence. At this point, it is important to stop all activities, rather than continuing to skate and possibly rupture the tendon.
Proper training shoes with good heel cushioning and stability can protect the area from additional trauma. As always, preventative measures are of great importance. Hockey players and casual skaters can both protect themselves by stretching and strengthening the area through exercise to gain better flexibility. This injury can be very painful in acute stages and can become chronic, creating problems for years. If you believe you may be suffering from either type of heel spur, be sure to rest the area and seek medical attention.
In rare cases, certain heel spurs can require surgery. Other treatments include customized orthotics, anti-inflammatory medication and cortisone shots.