Chances are that if you're active, you've had an overuse injury at some point. Every type of activity comes with its own susceptibility to injury: Runners are often plagued with shin splits, plantar fasciitis, or IT band syndrome. Swimmers and racquet sports suffer from rotator cuff strains or shoulder impingement. Dedicated HIIT athletes commonly experience back or hip pain.
Overuse injuries — otherwise known as repetitive use injuries — occur as a result of damage to tissues over a period of time. As the term implies, the catalyst for overuse injuries is the overload of one area of the body that alters ideal movement patterns. In my experience, I've found that overuse injuries come from lack of stability, strength, mobility or a combination of these three components.
Stability involves the smallest and deepest muscles of the body. These muscles provide the inner framework for movement. They help with balance, control movements and protect joints from excess movement.
Strength involves the bigger muscles of the hips, back and shoulders that provide power. Flexibility and mobility are related components of movement, which form the third pillar of fitness. Flexibility refers to range of motion of muscles, while mobility refers to joints that provide levers for muscles to move.
An overload of one area of the body due to repetitive use causes a shift in the normal biomechanics as some muscles are used more than others. As these muscles are overworked, the necessary balance between our stability, strength and mobility is disrupted.
Your injury prevention program begins with incorporating these three pillars of fitness: stability, strength and mobility. By understanding the type of exercise, you'll be able to utilize programs and exercises already at your disposal.
These should be both weight-bearing and non weight-baring, and target the lower and upper extremities, and spine.