Athletes and Overuse Injuries

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

Why are overuse injuries in student athletes on the rise?

Dr. Jon Sulentic discusses why overuse injuries are increasing among student athletes. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

Why are overuse injuries in student athletes on the rise?

The comments in various news media describe the increase in overuse injuries in young athletes, and what we've seen with that trend still needs to be ideally worked out with clinical trials or research trials, but the basic opinion is is that the training methodologies that are implemented in modern sports are lacking in enough rest recovery ... Let me rephrase. They need more rest in their training programs, and so the motivation to achieve elite level at a younger age is, I think, ultimately the core of many of those injuries.

Accelerated training programs are common programs in even low-end clubs, and many of the kids are not prepared for those programs even though the intent of the program is to progressively advance their training volume and training intensity, but not all programs are the same. Oftentimes, they have a label of an organized accelerated training program but the folks running the program are not skilled enough to apply those principles of training to the young athlete, and then we see the overuse injuries occur. Kids need to rest. They need multiple sports. They need cross training, to use an old term, and our modern sports are not set up for that in this country at least.

 

What we've seen with that trend still needs to be worked out with clinical trials or research trials. The basic opinion is that the training methodologies used in modern sports do not incorporate enough rest. The motivation to achieve elite levels at a younger age is, I think, at the core of many injuries.

Accelerated training programs are common even in low-end clubs, and many kids are not prepared, even though the intent is to progressively advance their training volume and training intensity. Not all programs are the same. Sometimes a program may be labeled as organized accelerated training program, but those running it are not skilled enough to apply the principles of training to young athletes. That’s when overuse injuries occur. When you're a younger athlete, you can't have as much volume. Young athletes need adequate time to recover after an intense program. The balance between training and recovery requires knowledge of the physiology and anatomy of the younger age group.

Kids need to rest. They need cross training, to use an old term, and our modern sports are not set up for that in this country, at least.

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