Overuse Injuries


Prevention and Treatment of Youth Sport Injuries
an Online Resource

Overuse injuries (shin splints, tendonitis, stress fractures etc.) should be identified by symptoms (athlete reported pain and weakness) and may not be accompanied by a detectable sign (swelling, redness, or bruising). Therefore, reported pain from a youth athlete should always be taken seriously, even if there is no visibly detectable ailment. Overuse injuries are also common in athletics as there is often times a repetitive motion that is completed over and over again. Tendonitis is an inflammation of a tendon portion of the muscle. Dancers, field players, and other athletes who frequently point their toes can be affected by Flexor Hallucis Longus tendonitis. In the youth, overuse injuries account for up to 50% of all injuries. In sports that involve running, jumping, and vaulting Achilles tendonitis may occur. In most cases rest and ice are all that are needed to alleviate tendinitis. Sometimes orthotics and braces can be used to allow the inflammation to heal.

Conditions that should be referred are chronic exertional compartment syndromes, high risk stress fractures, and progressive hallux valgus (bunions). Common sites of overuse bony injuries are along the tibia (shin bone), over the calcaneus (heel), and the metatarsals (long bones) of the foot. Overuse injuries of the upper extremities typically also stem from repetitive motions such as throwing. Throwers often exhibit pain over the medial epicondyle of the elbow. Tennis players typically experience overuse injuries to the lateral epicondyle of the elbow. The triangular fibrocartilage complex injury is a common youth injury in youth sport where loading and twisting is involved. Overuse injuries of the UE can typically be treated with initial immobilization period of 4-6 weeks, rest and ice.