Getting Fit Without Getting Hurt

Commence an exercise program gradually to avoid overuse injuries

Allen Passerallo, ATC, Athletic Trainer, Cleveland Clinic Sports Health

With the weather warming, the urge to exercise outdoors becomes more enticing.  Embracing this motivation to get more physical activity is encouraged; however, one must be careful of potential injuries that can occur when beginning or returning to an exercise program.  One of the most common-and easiest to avoid- injuries is the overuse injury.  This occurs when forces applied to a structure, such as a muscle tendon, increase faster than the tendon is able to adapt to the stress.  These forces lead to a breakdown of the tissue, resulting in symptoms of pain and potential swelling.  Injuries such as tendonitis and bursitis exhibit these symptoms and occur when a tendon or bursa in a body part become inflamed. 

Common areas for overuse injuries in the lower body are the Achilles tendon, shin, patellar tendon (front of the knee) and the hip.  In the upper body, the rotator cuff or shoulder and the elbow (sometimes called tennis elbow) are most affected.

To read more about stretching, [Read about stretches] 

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