The term for that is “overuse syndromes.” A common overuse injury is tendinosis, also called tendinitis. The tendon becomes inflamed from over-repeated use.
Rotator cuff tendinosis affects the shoulder. Tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow are other forms of tendinosis, where the outside or inside of the elbow are affected.
Some athletes may also experience stress (or fatigue) fractures, which occur when the bone is stressed enough. This could happen to a runner who rapidly increases his mileage when training for a race. Stress fractures can also occur when someone starts running, and overdoes it at the start, rather than gradually progressing to longer distances.
Another common injury is shin splints. Tiny fractures on the surface of the tibia (shin bone are responsible for this overuse injury. This is most often seen in runners, though other athletes can develop it.
The diagnosis of sports injuries starts with the history of activity that brought about the pain. Physical examination is next, which could include x-rays to detect or rule out fractures, MRI and ultrasound for soft-tissue injuries. Bone fractures require stabilization, such as with a cast. Other injuries will require different treatments, and could include:
Joint manipulation (chiropractic care). Research shows that joint manipulation can help with pain reduction and promote a more rapid recovery. Your chiropractic doctor will determine if this procedure will be helpful in your case.
Rest. Generally, no more than 48 hours of rest and/or immobilization is needed, depending on the severity of the injury. Generally, the sooner a person becomes active after an injury, the more rapid the recovery. In fact, long-term immobilization sometimes slows recovery. Your doctor of chiropractic will guide this process, as a too-early return to activity, or the wrong type of activity, or excessive activity can be detrimental.
Ice or heat. These can help reduce pain and promote tissue healing.
Compression. Your chiropractic doctor can determine if compression of the area will reduce the amount of swelling from the injury.
Elevation. Elevating an injured arm or leg above the level of the heart can help reduce swelling.
Pain relievers. This is not a treatment! Recent research demonstrates that some nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may actually slow the healing process by restricting the body's natural healing mechanisms.
A word about prevention: In many cases, sports injuries can be prevented. Proper conditioning, warm-up and cool-down procedures, and appropriate safety equipment can substantially reduce injuries. Understanding proper techniques can also go a long way toward preventing injuries. Sufficient water intake is also an important preventive measure.