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Preventing Overuse Injuries in Young Athletes

Preventing Overuse Injuries in Young Athletes

With so many young athletes playing sports, it’s no wonder injuries are common. Half of all sports medicine injuries in children and teens are from overuse.

What is an Overuse Injury?

An overuse injury is damage to a bone, muscle, ligament, or tendon caused by repetitive stress without allowing time for the body to heal. Shin splints are an example of an overuse injury. 

Overuse injuries have 4 stages

  • Pain in the affected area after physical activity
  • Pain during physical activity, not restricting performance
  • Pain during physical activity, restricting performance
  • Chronic, persistent pain, even at rest

Who is at Risk?

Children and teens are at increased risk for overuse injuries because growing bones are less resilient to stress. Also, young athletes may not know that certain symptoms are signs of overuse (for example, worsening shoulder pain in swimmers). If you think your child has an overuse injury, talk with your child’s doctor. A treatment plan may include making changes in how often and when the athlete plays, controlling pain, and physiotherapy. 

How to Prevent Overuse Injuries:

Athletes should stay away from excessive training programs that could be harmful. Here are guidelines to help prevent overuse injuries by promoting a healthy balance of activities. 


Athletes should have a preparticipation physical evaluation (PPE) to make sure they are ready to safely begin the sport. The best time for a PPE is a minimum of 6 weeks before the beginning of the season to allow for any extra evaluation or rehabilitation.

Athletes should maintain a good fitness level during the season and offseason. Preseason training should allow time for general and sport‑specific conditioning. Also important are proper warm-up and cooldown exercises.

Rest up

Athletes should take at least 1 day off per week from organized activity to recover physically and mentally.


Increases in weekly training time, mileage, or repetitions should be no more than 10% per week. For example, if running 10 miles this week, increase to 11 miles the next week.

Cross-train. Athletes should vary their endurance workouts to include multiple different activities, like swimming, biking, or elliptical trainers.

Perform sport-specific drills in different ways. For example, run in a swimming pool instead of only running on the road.

How to Prevent Burnout:

Burnout (overtraining syndrome) includes mental, physical, and hormonal changes that can affect performance. To help prevent burnout in your child, follow the guidelines in this article. Other suggestions include: 

Keep your child’s practice fun and age appropriate.

Focus on your child’s overall wellness, and teach your child how to listen for problems with his or her body.

Remember: Your goal should be to promote a well-rounded athlete who can enjoy regular physical activity for a lifetime. 


Here at Don Kelly Physiotherapy and Acupuncture clinic we have treated this very common condition very successfully in both our Limerick and Charleville clinics.

Phyio exercises and acupressure: This can be an ancient type of treatment that is comparable to acupuncture, but does not use needles. It applies pressure to particular pressure points which encourages blood circulation, relieves muscle tension, and triggers our body natural healing : 

I have treated my patients with a 100% success rate. Armed with experience in the last 20 years of providing my physiotherapy services in Limerick and Charleville.

If you experience chronic pain, injuries, or advice for knee surgery and replacement please don’t hesitate to reach out. I have treated thousands of my patients with successful results over the last 20 years of my physio services. 

BEFORE YOU SAY YES TO KNEE SURGERY REPLACEMENT– give me a ring for an assessment. 

My treatment plan is the result of my experience and knowledge in treating chronic pains and injuries over the last 20 years. This is the holistic plan to guarantee pain relief, prevent recurring pains, and faster recovery. 



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