I‘m talking about overuse injuries today on Workout Wednesday. Why? Well, I’m suffering from them. I work out 7 hours a week, sometimes more. My body is tired and overworked. Things start breaking down and then injuries start popping up.
It all started with my knees. Now normally when my knees start to hurt, that’s a signal for me to buy new running shoes. So I did. Then things started going downhill. Not only did my knees hurt, but my iliotibial band (IT band), hips, glutes and shins. I was a mess.
I tried treating myself with ice and some minor stretching. No luck! I knew I had to seek professional help. Clearly I let it go too far. I need to be functioning for my job as a fitness instructor.
Last week I went to see a physiotherapist. The physiotherapist said I have a weak gluteus medius. When your “butt” is weak, you rely on other parts of your body to compensate, usually starting in the IT band which runs down the outside of your body. My IT band was so TIGHT it was pulling my kneecap out of proper alignment – hence the knee pain.
Not only was the knee not properly aligned, but my hips and low back started taking over. And then it finally worked its way down to my shins.
So now I have a series of stretches I have to do twice daily along with icing my knees and heating my IT band. I see the physiotherapist twice a week. Fingers crossed I’m on my way to recovering.
Now how could I have prevented this?
Overuse injuries are the result of repetitive trauma to the tendons, bones and joints. Our bodies adapt to physical stress. While exercising our bodies remodel by breaking down and rebuilding tissue. If the breakdown of the tissue happens faster than the rebuilding, overuse injuries happen.
Proper technique is critical in avoiding an overuse injury. Equipment, the type of shoe, and the surface you are working out on, all play a role in preventing injury.
Warm up and cool down the body properly before and after exercise.
Strength and flexibility training are also very important in preventing an overuse injury. (Funny – because that’s exactly what I teach 7 times a week – go figure!)
Above all else, cut back on your workout frequency and intensity. Listen to your body. If you can’t get things under control – seek professional help.
I blame my running shoes. I think I bought a bad brand. I won’t make the same mistake again.
Be safe, stay healthy and have fun!