Ask the PT: About Overuse Injuries

As spring approaches, do you have any suggestions for someone who is planning on returning to outdoor activities?

As the warm weather and spring approach, many people begin looking forward to outside recreational activities and road races.  Such an increase in activity can often result in overuse injuries affecting the lower extremities and feet. To prevent chronic injuries such as shin splints, heel pain and longitudinal arch/fascia pain people must be aware of a few preventative steps that should be taken prior to beginning activities.

  • Always remember to “warm up” in a way that imitates the activity of choice. Doing so in a slow, low impact manner has been proven to help reduce musculoskeletal injuries.
  • Appropriate footwear for each athletic activity is critical. For example, the force of the impact when running can create 3-8 times more body weight per square centimeter throughout the structures of the foot.  Therefore, footwear with good shock absorption and midfoot stability is important when training for a road race. 
  • Make certain to always allow ample time for your body to recover when beginning an exercise or training program.  An excellent way to do this is to mix up various forms of cardio training. This will provide muscles, tendons, and bones time to recover from long impact training.  Some examples of lower impact activities include swimming, biking, and walking.

These few simple tips will allow for a fun and safe return to your outdoor spring activities. Should you have questions regarding this topic or any other health-related concerns, please call PT Cumberland at 333.9787.