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Overuse Injuries

Hi, it’s Erienne from Peak Endurance, physical therapy. Today, I want to talk about overuse injuries. We hear that term a lot, but what is an overuse injury?

An overuse injury is an injury that occurs because the load, we put on a tissue – whether that tissue is a muscle, bone tendon, or ligament – exceeds its capacity. The capacity of a tissue basically means how strong and resilient the tissue is, while load is the stress put on that tissue.

Load can mean a bunch of different things; we tend to think of load as the weight we put on, but it can also mean the volume or the number of reps, or the speed of the movement as well.

Injury and pain occur when the load we put on a tissue exceeds its capacity that it can handle at that time. We see these overuse injuries a lot in runners, especially seasonal runners who run outside only when it gets nice out and high school athletes as well. When the school season starts or it’s finally nice outside, the activity level goes from zero to 100 in a week. Before you weren’t doing much activity or not as much as you typically would in your season, and now all of a sudden you’re doing five to six days a week. That load, suddenly put on those tissues exceeds its capacity.

How do we prevent this? My suggestion is:

  1.  Make sure you’re staying active in your offseason. Whether that’s cross training or lifting weights, those are really good ways to keep your body moving and increasing the capacity of these tissues.
  2. Once your season comes, make sure that you are gradually ramping up into that full workload – not going to zero to 100.
    Start by ramping up frequency, then a little bit of the duration, and then the intensity as you get further along into that season.
  3. After that ramp up, just make sure you’re listening to your body. 


Here at Peak Endurance Performance & Physical Therapy we help active adults in the Madison Area get back to the activities they love without pain or limitations. We see people of all ages, ability levels, and individuals trying to get back to a multitude of movements including: getting back into running, women postpartum, CrossFit athletes, climbers, gymnasts, wrestlers, overhead athletes, and your recreational weekend warrior. If you’re looking to get back to the activities that give you meaning, relieve stress, and make you feel like you again, feel free to reach out below and we’ll see if we’re the right fit for you.