Overuse injuries occur when a part of the body is forced to work too hard. This can be because other muscles are weak, because of poor posture or because of overtraining.
A common overuse injury in sport is the stress fracture, when repetitive force on a bone causes tiny fractures in the bone. For example runners sometimes get stress fractures in the bones in their feet or shins.
Tendonitis is another overuse injury, where too much use of a muscle causes damage to its tendon. There is usually pain, swelling and inflammation over the tendon. Tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow are examples of tendonitis.
Tendonitis is often caused by repetitive movements, which is why some overuse injuries are also called repetitive strain injuries (RSI).
Treating overuse and repetitive strain injuries
Follow RICE (Rest, Ice, Compress, and Elevate) to reduce the swelling and pain.
Do not apply heat to the injured area if there is swelling.
Heat can be used to relieve pain for long-term overuse injuries.
A brace or support can help to prevent tendonitis or decrease the symptoms.
Stress fractures usually require at least 6 weeks of rest to heal.