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Overuse Injury Does Not Mean What You Think

If you have ever experienced an injury, you have probably been told at some point in your life that it was due to overuse. Many injuries get lumped into the overuse category. 

If overuse was the actual reason for your injury, that would mean everyone would experience the same injuries once they reached a certain distance, resistance, intensity, etc. We all know that is not happening. Different people experience different injuries, and some people experience no injuries. 

In my opinion, overuse is simply an excuse. It is someone not looking deeper into what could be contributing to the injury. It is also a reason that does not tell anyone how to fix the issue and therefore minimize the chances that it returns again. 

So, if we cannot blame it on overuse, what can we blame it on? 

Sorry to break it to you, but you are doing it to yourself. Unless you have done some type of training error, such as too much, too soon, overuse injuries often come down to the mechanics of your movement. Meaning, ‘how’ you are moving is contributing to your injuries. The way you are running, walking, squatting, sitting, standing, etc. is placing more stress and strain on certain areas of your body. The body can tolerate it for a period of time, but eventually the body sends you pain signals because it has had enough and it wants to be fixed. 

Let me give you some common examples of movement faults I see: 

  • Letting the knees fall in when squatting. Or if you are controlling the knees, you are doing so by rolling to the outside of your feet rather than activating the glutes. 
  • Poor weight distribution with squats and lunges, either letting your heels come off the ground or keeping all the weight on your heels so your toes lose contact with the ground. 
  • Heel strike landing when running. 
  • Poor control of the stance leg when running. 
  • Poor shoulder control with overhead lifting. 
  • Poor shoulder and core control with hanging movements. 

I could go on and on with examples, but I think you get the point. 

And just to be clear, there is no ‘perfect’ way to move since everyone has slight variations in their anatomical makeup, but there are ideal ways to move that reduce forces on tissues. And regardless of your anatomical makeup, almost everyone can improve how they move in some way. Personally, I am always working to improve how I move. 

Since overuse does not actually mean overuse like you think it does, simply resting or using ice and heat to calm the area down is not going to solve your problem. Once you return to activity and move in the same exact patterns that you did, the issues are going to return. Solving your problem for good requires you to improve how your body is moving so you are not continuing to place excessive stress and strain on the tissues. 

Want some help correcting your movement patterns? Schedule a complimentary call to discuss your situation and find out what your options are! 

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