Overuse Injury

Overuse Injury: A musculoskeletal injury sometimes referred to as overuse syndrome or cumulative trauma disorder, overuse injuries are caused by accumulated microtraumatic stress placed on a body structure causing tissue damage over a long course of time.

These injuries are caused by any type of chronic repeated activity including occupational and recreational. There are many different specific diagnoses that may be associated with overuse, some of which are referred to as injuries and others as syndromes (e.g. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome) but the underlying pattern of repeated activities that cause changes to the movement system leading to tissue damage and/or inflammation is always present. It is important to note that not only habitually repeated movements produce changes that lead to these injuries but also habitually sustained postures.

Overuse injuries are common in athletes who concentrate on one sport. They differ from acute injuries in that they are not precipitated by a single traumatic event, such as spraining and ankle. Instead, practicing the same movements over and over again, with low stress, causes a cumulative stress on the tissues even though these stresses, in isolation, are not enough to exceed the tensile strength of the tissues and disrupt them, as happens in acute injuries. Therefore, overuse injuries develop over time and so are consider chronic. Their onset is often insidious and a single cause or etiology can be difficult to trace. See the overuse injury category for more articles and information on specific syndromes.

This page created 16 Nov 2011 21:10
Last updated 02 Mar 2016 04:27

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