Athletes and Overuse Injuries

Premier Health providers answer frequently asked questions about sports related overuse injuries.

Are certain overuse injuries more common in student athletes from middle school through college?

Dr. Jon Sulentic discusses sports overuse injuries that happen most often with student athletes. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

Are certain overuse injuries more common in student athletes from middle school through college?

The most common overuse or sports-related injuries that we typically see really divide into two categories, one being the upper extremities, mostly shoulder, primarily in throwing sports or repetitive overuse type sports like swimming, racket sports and baseball/softball. Those usually resolve or, sorry, result from the simple biomechanics of we weren't designed to throw or do those movements repetitively and so we tend to see rotator cuff symptoms, but also the support musculature of the shoulder blade and just generally around the shoulder. The nuances of the diagnosis are based on the exam, so we categorize those basically as shoulder overuse injuries.

The lower extremities in young athletes passed the age of growth plates or open growth and development of the boney anatomy relate to mostly the patellar tendon, and something we commonly see in runners called the Iliotibial Band Syndrome. Sometimes there's foot injuries as well, stress fractures and some of the tendons that associate with the onset of stress fractures and shin splints, so those are the growths or general buckets of injuries that we see. Again, the exam will tease out the nuanced muscle that is actually involved.

   

With the upper extremities we mostly see shoulder overuse injuries, primarily in the throwing sports or repetitive overuse type sports like swimming, racket sports and baseball/softball. These injuries usually result from simple biomechanics. Humans weren't designed to throw or make those repetitive movements. We tend to see rotator cuff symptoms and problems in the support muscles of the shoulder blade and around the shoulder.

For the lower extremities, we mostly see injuries related to the patellar tendon of the knee in young athletes who are past the age of open growth and development of the bony anatomy and growth plates. In runners we commonly see iliotibial band syndrome. This is an overuse injury of the connective tissues on the outer part of the thigh and knee.

We also sometimes see foot injuries, stress fractures and injuries to some of the tendons associated with the onset of stress fractures and shin splints.

For both types of overuse injuries an exam will tease out the specific muscles that are involved.

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Source: Jeffrey James, DO, Jon Sulentic, DO, Premier Orthopedics; Justin Perkins, Premier Health athletic trainer; American Medical Society for Sports Medicine; National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases