Physical Therapy: The Prescription for Overuse Injuries

The epidemic of overuse injuries in the wake of limitations imposed on us by a lengthy pandemic can bring a sudden end to aspirations of physical fitness, sending too many of us to physician care and prescriptions for physical therapy.

People trying to get back in shape after a few years beyond what was once an active life, working out and even competing with their peers on the golf and tennis courts or sports leagues, are too often in a hurry to recapture the feeling of optimal health they remember so fondly. One of the problems with resuscitating fading fitness is that you can get out of shape a lot faster than you got into it, and you can find yourself out of shape without even trying. Getting out of shape is a piece of cake— too often literally with too many pieces of cake or whatever your caloric downfall may be. Then there is the unavoidable life experience of aging, which tempts us into a sedentary lifestyle and makes fitness even more difficult as the months, years and decades speed by.

Every spring and summer unleashes legions of men and women who commit themselves to doing too much too soon, forgetting that even the most effective exercise regimens require consistency and patience. Bursts of motivation and energy may not be good for the long haul, especially if injuries arise as barriers.

The national news media was already reporting on an outbreak of post-pandemic injuries in April of this year, and it is happening to youths in athletics and adults pushing themselves in gyms or outside on their favorite running courses striving to get back in shape with a vengeance.

Many of these injuries that occur are related what is known as tendinopathies, which are injuries caused by overuse of tendons. Tendinopathy may run the gamut from inflammation of a tendon to the more serious tendinitis, which is really a deterioration issue and can strike anyone from elderly joggers to professional athletes and even, as you’ll see, participants in youth sports.

Physical therapy has become a blessing for all sufferers of overuse injuries and the best way back to good health and, from there, a key to constructive exercise and conditioning under watchful professional eyes.

Overuse injuries occur anywhere in the human body.  We know them by names like:

  • runner’s knee
  • jumper’s knee (patellar tendinopathy)
  • Achilles heel (tendinopathy at the ankle)
  • tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis)
  • golfer’s elbow (medial epicondylitis)
  • swimmer’s shoulder (rotator cuff tendinitis and impingement)
  • Gluteal tendinopathy on the exterior of the hip and
  • Pitcher’s elbow (throwing motion repetition) and a variation, Little League elbow

Physical therapy is a proven process for overuse injuries and, as in most cases, it starts with a thorough examination and an assessment to best negate the injury so the patient can move on to the level of physical activity in which they were involved or intend to pursue. But this time they’ll do so under the guidance of our skilled and knowledgeable physical therapists and PT staff to document progress and minimize the prospects of overuse injuries.

—Call us today at (201) 651-9100 at Oakland Spine & Physical Therapy to learn more about rotator cuff injury and how we can help you ease pain and improve mobility.