The Perfect Storm For Overuse Injuries

Unfortunately, too many of the “common place” injuries we hear about today are connected to overuse. Achilles tendinopathy, plantar fasciitis, runner’s knee, patellofemoral pain, shin splints, stress fractures… and the list goes on. 

These injuries are the result of an imbalance between breakdown of body tissue and rebuilding that tissue. The amount of breakdown must be equal to the amount of rebuilding that occurs, or else you only have breakdown—and therefore injury.

With that said, there are often many factors that create a “perfect storm” for an overuse injury to occur. An athlete’s posture or alignment might predispose them to certain injuries, or perhaps their biomechanics are causing greater than necessary forces to vulnerable parts of the body.

Some examples of postural/alignment variations that can contribute to injury include flat feet, high arches, knock knees, bowlegged-ness (is that even a word?), legs rotating out, legs rotating inward, and many more. 

If you combine knocked knees with overstriding, the result can often be a painful case of runner’s knee. Or if a runner is trying to transition to a forefoot strike (various reasons and motivations), there is a greater chance of developing achilles tendon issues.

This is why it is important to look beyond your training program when searching for answers as to why your injury occurred. While most likely, yes, there are training errors occurring, there is probably another factor or two involved that created your “perfect storm”. 

If you have had an overuse injury, and especially if you have had more than one— even MORE SO if it is the SAME injury reoccurring— postural and alignment issues as well as running (or general movement) biomechanics must be considered and addressed accordingly. 

Cathlin Fitzgerald, PT, DPT, CSCS, CAFS

Samantha LaBarbara