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Why Stopping Activity Short Term Will Help Long Term

knee pain

By: Jason Makoutz, DPT

Overuse injuries are some of the most common injuries we see here at Loudoun Sports Therapy Center. Overuse injuries are most commonly thought of with sports, but they can occur from simple everyday activities. An overuse injury is simply caused by any repetitive motion or activity.

Common Overuse injuries

  • Tennis/golfers elbow
  • Rotator cuff/biceps tendonitis
  • Knee/hip pain
  • Peroneal tendonitis

The most common cause of these overuse injuries is performing repetitive motions with decreased muscle strength. If you perform a motion over and over again without proper mechanics you irritate the soft tissue surrounding the joint. Over time, this leads to increased inflammation, which leads to pain. Pain most times is just the beginning. If the pain persists your body will try to “protect” the joint and you will start to lose range of motion. The combination of decreased range of motion and increased pain will begin to affect your daily activities. It may be slow but soon you will start avoiding using that arm or standing/favoring one leg over the other. Imagine if you were a construction worker or librarian and you couldn’t use your dominant arm to perform your job. That would be quite debilitating.

Many overuse injuries occur from sports. The most common sports for this to happen include:

  • Baseball/softball
  • Swimming
  • Distance runners
  • Track

A common cause is intense practice followed by little recovery time over and over again. This can lead to muscle breakdown without time to recover. This starts a vicious cycle that ends in either pain or worse possible injury. When the muscles/tendons become inflamed and irritated, the risk of them tearing is much higher. This is why rotator cuff tears are so common in overhead athletes.

If pain from overuse is not taken care of early on, it leads to a longer recovery time and it exponentially increases the chance of a tear or more serious injury. We often have athletes who come in with an overuse type injury who are unwilling to stop playing. We end up having to play ‘bad cop’ by telling they need to stop in order to decrease inflammation and irritation of the muscles while increasing their strength to return to their sports in better condition. What would you rather do: stop playing/running for 4-6 weeks or tear a muscle which can take 3-12 months to heal?

Moral of the story is don’t wait seek help! Physical Therapy is an effective, conservative way to help you recover from or even prevent overuse injuries and help you return to the activities you enjoy doing pain free. At Loudoun Sports Therapy Center, one of our Doctors of Physical Therapy will take you through a thorough evaluation to determine where the pain is coming from and how to treat it. They will talk to you about your daily activities and what leisure/work activities you’d like to get back doing. That could be anything from sweeping the floor without pain or returning fully pain free to your sport.

If you or someone you know has experienced or is currently experiencing any of these issues or just have generally achiness/pain call our office today at 703-450-4300. We can evaluate you and determine what steps you need to take to return back to your pain free life! CLICK HERE for more on how physical therapy can help you. 

 

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