To avoid overuse injuries, one of the first things to do is to vary the training. For young athletes, play various sports. We see too early specialization with our youth athletes. If we vary the ability to adapt to different environments, we provide a much more holistic movement strategy for these kids.
So really what it comes down to is moving and training your body three dimensionally – forward, backward, side-to-side, rotating, varying the speed, moving slow, moving fast, changing the load, moving light weights, moving heavy weights. Varying the action such as squatting or lunging or reaching. Then also going from hard days to light days, not working too many hard days in a row.
The second thing to do to avoid overuse would be to adhere to your league-wide or coaching training guidelines. There are safety measures that are put in place to avoid common overuse injuries such as little league and elbow pain. These can prevent long-term deficits that can require extensive surgeries.
The third thing is to avoid working to the max two days in a row. Give your body a chance to recover and to heal from a hard day by alternating hard and light days. Now this isn’t always possible but try to avoid working out super hard three days in a row because that is just setting the environment for breakdown.
Now if you are a runner and you’re increasing your mileage to get to a certain event, try to keep your weekly increase to ten percent. In this way, you’re setting yourself up for your body to adapt to the new mileage and the new demand that you’re placing upon it.
Dr. Anthony Manzella is Director of Physical Therapy at Ferraro Spine & Rehabilitation, a multi-specialty wellness facility serving northern NJ and the NY metro area for the past 18 years. If you are interested in speaking with Dr. Manzella, you can call (973) 478-2212 to schedule an appointment or you can go online to www.ferrarospine.com.