You may be a CrossFit king, a yoga queen or simply someone who likes to stay healthy through exercise. Unfortunately, everyone’s body has limits. Sometimes we cross these limits in our exercise routines – and that’s when injuries occur.

You may be a CrossFit king, a yoga queen or simply someone who likes to stay healthy through exercise. Unfortunately, everyone’s body has limits. Sometimes we cross these limits in our exercise routines – and that’s when injuries occur.

The two most common types of exercise injuries are overuse and overextension. We explore each of these types of injuries in this post so that you can learn how to avoid them and how to best treat them if they happen.

Overuse injuries

These are far more common than sudden, traumatic injuries in sports and exercise. Overuse problems tend to appear over a longer period and are a result of repetitive micro-injuries to tendons, bones and joints.

The most common causes of overuse injuries are doing the same activity many times a week or for long hours, using the wrong equipment, applying poor technique or returning to a sport after a long absence. Other injuries may result from old or incompletely rehabilitated injuries that can be provoked by excessive exercise.

Typical overuse injuries
Tennis elbow
Swimmer’s shoulder
Pitcher’s elbow
Runner’s knee
Achilles tendinitis
Shin splints

Preventing overuse injuries

Stretching and gently warming up before exercise can help to release muscle tension and prevent injury. It’s also a good idea to mix up your sports activities to use different muscle groups on different days. If in doubt about the correct way to train, you can talk to a coach or fitness expert to help perfect a technique that will avoid injury. Using ice on affected areas or using anti-inflammatory treatments after an activity may also alleviate pain or greater injury later.

Diagnosing and treating overuse injuries

The problem with overuse injuries is that they tend to form over time and are often ignored as a minor pain. By the time you visit the doctor, the condition may already have become a chronic complaint. Diagnosis can usually be made after a doctor gets your thorough medical history and does a physical examination. This could include x-rays, laboratory work and MRI imaging studies.

The simplest treatment is likely to be rest. Your doctor may also suggest exercise therapy (e.g. stretching or strengthening), Kinesio taping, anti-inflammatories or topical analgesics. More serious injuries may require injections into affected areas or ultrasound therapy.

Overextension injuries

Also called hyperextension injuries, these occur when a joint bends or extends beyond its normal range of movement, damaging the surrounding tissues. In more severe cases, the ligaments can stretch or tear, making the joint unstable and increasing the risk of dislocation or other injuries.

The most common overextension injuries occur with knees, ankles, elbows, fingers, shoulders and neck. They often result from contact sports or activities such as basketball or football that require fast and frequent directional changes. Weightlifting, tennis or gymnastics may increase the risk of elbow and wrist hyperextension.

Overextension symptoms
Hearing/feeling a popping sound
Pain when touching or moving the affected joint
Swelling around the joint
Bruising of the surrounding tissues
Difficulty supporting weight
Muscle spasms

Preventing overextension injuries

It’s too easy to say, “I’ll be careful!” If you have a competitive spirit, it’s better to avoid high-risk activities. When you exercise, consider wearing a flexible brace on your knee, elbow or ankle for extra support.

If you’ve had a joint injury previously, you may be more prone to hyperextension injuries. Muscle weakness may also lead to greater risk through insufficient support of certain joints. In both cases, physical therapy could help you strengthen the affected part and lower your risk of re-injury.

Treating overextension injuries

Over-the-counter anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen could help with swelling. If the pain isn’t too severe, you also could treat yourself via the RICE technique:

  • REST for a day or two before gradually starting to use the joint again.
  • ICE the affected area with a pack or compress for 10 minutes every hour for the first few days. Remember not to put ice directly on the skin.
  • COMPRESS the swelling with a sock, sleeve or elastic bandage (but not so tight that it impedes blood supply).
  • ELEVATE the affected joint above your heart to help minimise swelling.

Be safe – consult a doctor

Don’t take risks with your body. It’s better to visit a doctor sooner than later if you are experiencing pain. Having a physician examine your injury will allow you to receive the best treatment according to your medical history.

In the unfortunate event that you are injured, visiting Doctors Express for treatment will save you time thanks to our in-house diagnostic services such as digital x-ray, laboratory and full pharmacy services.

Visit us in person to see a doctor immediately or call us at +1 345-745-6000. We’re open 9 AM – 9 PM, 7 days a week with no appointments necessary – just walk in!

Looking for more information? Read our post on the “7 Most Common Injuries and How to Prevent Them.”

Call or visit us should you experience any of these common injuries and have symptoms that last longer than one week, are causing severe pain or are preventing you from your daily activities.