By: Kailyn K. Sorensen, DPT
Loving running and playing tennis, I always encourage others to find outdoor activities they enjoy. Safely explore all the beautiful mountains, rivers, trails, and parks Tennessee has to offer with these tips to help prevent repetitive use injuries that commonly occur with outdoor activities.
Running, cycling, hiking, kayaking, paddling, rowing, and rock climbing all involve repetitive movements which can cause what is known as “repetitive use injuries”. Repetitive use injuries can occur almost anywhere. Some examples of common repetitive use injuries: golfers elbow, tennis elbow, rotator cuff tendinopathy, patellar tendinopathy, de Quervains, plantar fasciitis, and bursitis.
Help combat these injuries with a few simple tips:
1) Gradually Increase. Have not ran, kayaked, or cycled in a few weeks, months, years? Start out slow with short distance and level terrain. Feel like you can push it and go a couple more miles? Probably not the best idea. Muscles and tendons need to be trained with in order to prevent injury. To ensure that you can continue doing what you love to do, gradually increase your mileage whether it is on land or in the water.
2) Stretch. Stretching following activity helps to prevent muscle imbalances that can be the cause for injury.
3) Ice. Use ice after activity if you experience pain, soreness, or swelling. Icing the area for 15-20 minutes helps to decrease swelling, pain, and may aid in quicker recovery time.
If you have experienced a recent injury follow these steps:
1) Day of injury: Rest, Ice, and Elevate. Ice injured area for 15-20 minutes (unless you have a medical condition that contraindicates the use of ice) and elevate area above your heart level to promote healing.
2) Next day: If the area remains swollen and/or painful for greater than 24 hours contact your physical therapist who can perform a comprehensive evaluation to diagnosis your injury and establish a plan of care to help decrease swelling/pain, regain range of motion, strengthen weak muscles, correct form and posture, and prevent future related injuries. Your physical therapist will also be able to determine if your injury requires further evaluation by a physician.
Whether it is repetitive use injury, a fall, chronic condition, difficulty walking, trouble with activities of daily living, recent surgery requiring rehabilitation, or other musculoskeletal injury, your physical therapist will be able to establish a plan of care that will help you get back to what you love.
If you feel you need a consultation or help understanding your physical condition contact us at Foothills Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine Center. We offer a FREE Physical Therapy consultation to all of our past, current and potential patients. Feel free to contact 865-573-6458 to schedules yours, I will be more than happy to help you!
*Please be sure to contact your physician or ER for open wounds, head trauma, fractures, and other medical emergencies*
*For more information about myself and the Foothills Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine Team, visit our website at www.foothillspt.us. *
Thank you for taking the time to read my article on repetitive use injuries.
Stay well and enjoy the outdoors!
Kailyn Sorensen, Doctor of Physical Therapy