The Low Down On Muscoskeletal Injuries
Muscoskeletal injuries that come from overuse are injuries that occur from a certain event or accident which involves repeated stresses of that area’s body tissue. This results in an overload and breaks the tissue down. The most typical injuries related to overuse include shoulder and rotator cuff tendon problems, shin splints, as well as tennis elbow. Acute injuries occur from a single event as well, but may not be considered to be an overuse injuries – an example is an ankle sprain.
Commonly, overuse injuries stem from an underlying weak area of tendons or muscle tissue. This can be caused by extensive physical activity and training, or improper stretching. Specifics on some of the more common injuries include:
Sprains – Ligaments that are affected by injuries are called sprains. These are the structures the keep bone connected to another bone. Sprains can be graded I, II, or III, depending on the amount of tearing and damage done to the particular ligament. Common areas that are inflicted by pain include the knees, elbows, ankles, and sometimes the wrists. Due to the important role that ligaments play in our bodies by connecting our bones together, sprains that affect the ligament can be extremely serious.
Once a sprain occurs, it can take several weeks to several months for a ligament to properly heal because of the limited blood supply that exists in these structures. Any attempt to put physical pressure on the sprained ligament during the healing process may cause permanent damage.
Strain – Muscle fibers or muscles that are injured are called strains. Just as sprains are, strains are graded on a scale of I, II, and III, with grade typically being the most severe as it represents the total tearing of the muscle. Once a strain occurs, with proper rehabilitation and relaxation the muscle will return to full flexibility and ability. Because of their more plentiful blood supply, muscles heal much quicker than their ligament counterparts.
Tendonitis – Tendons have the task of attaching muscles to bones. These injuries are commonly called tendonitis, or alternatively, tendonosis. Some common tendons to become injured include the Achilles tendon, the rotator cuff, and the tendons located on the inside and outside of the elbow. Injuries to the tendons in our bodies occur when they are overused have the ability to become chronic – such is the name for the common term “tennis elbow.”
Like ligament injuries, tendon injuries are slow and difficult for our bodies to heal because of their very limited blood supply. It’s important during rehabilitation of the injured tendon to help flex and strengthen the muscles around the injured tendon to help make the protecting support structure stronger.
Stress fractures – A chip of bone that dislodges. The bones that more commonly experience this type of fracture include those in the lower body, like the foot and lower legs. Treatment of stress fractures usually involves some type of cast for several weeks to allow the bone to heal.