Fall sports are here and with that comes overuse injuries and burnout especially in adolescent athletes. An overuse injury develops slowly over time due to repetitive stress on tendons, muscles, bones, or joints. It is important to be aware and pay attention to any minor aches and pains to prevent a more serious injury down the road. Here are a few of the most common overuse injuries during the fall season.

SHIN SPLINTS

Shin splints are an inflammation of the muscles, tendons, and bone tissue around your shinbone (tibia). Typically, this develops when the muscle and bone tissue become overworked by repetitive or a sudden change in activity, such as increasing the intensity or amount that you exercise. Runners are at the highest risk for developing shin splints.

It might be time to take a break and rest if you start to experience these symptoms:

  • Sharp, dull, or throbbing pain
  • Pain during and after exercise
  • Sore to touch and mild swelling

Sometimes, other problems exist that can have an impact on healing. If the pain persists, contact one of our orthopedic surgeons for an examination.

PLANTAR FASCIITIS

Plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of foot pain, radiating from the bottom of the heel throughout the foot. The plantar fascia is the strong band of tissue in the arch of your foot, which runs from your heel to toe, and absorbs strains and stress placed on the foot each time it is in use. Plantar fasciitis occurs when that supporting tissue becomes irritated and inflamed.

Common causes and risk factors include:

  • Tight calf muscles
  • Repetitive activity (sports/running)
  • New or increased activity
  • Obesity

Diagnosis and treatment are important with this painful condition and healing can begin quickly once diagnosed. Your doctor will most likely recommend rest and possibly frequent icing on the area. Anti-inflammatories may also help symptoms subside combined with light stretching of your feet and calves. If pain continues to linger, your orthopedic surgeon may recommend a partial release procedure.

ACHILLES TENDINITIS

The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the body, connecting the calf muscles to the heel bone. Although it can withstand a lot of stress, it is also prone to tendinitis, which is when the tendon becomes inflamed causing swelling, pain, or irritation. This condition is caused by repetitive stress to the tendon, such as pushing our bodies too far or too soon from walking, running, jumping, etc.

Common symptoms of Achilles Tendinitis include:

  • Pain on the back of the heel that worsens with activity
  • Pain or stiffness along the tendon in the morning
  • Pain the day after exercising
  • Swelling

If you feel a sudden “pop” in the back of your heel or calf, it is possible you have ruptured your Achilles tendon and will need to see your doctor immediately. The Center’s NOWcare at our Neff Road clinic offers expert care with no appointment necessary.