Understanding & Preventing Overuse Injuries

Overuse injuries, overtraining, and “burnout” are growing problems among our young athletes. They have long term consequences including injury, poor performance, and psychological lack of enthusiasm long-term. Awareness of these conditions is important for every parent, coach, trainer, primary care provider, and sports medicine specialist.

Common overuse injuries include:

  • Shin splints
  • Patellar tendonitis (commonly referred to as ‘jumper’s knee’)
  • Little leaguer’s elbow/shoulder (injury to the inner elbow or the upper arm bone at the shoulder and is common in young athletes who are still growing)
  • Patellofemoral pain syndrome (commonly referred to as ‘runner’s knee’)
  • Fatigue

Early symptoms include:

  • Decreased strength and endurance
  • Recurrent pain during activity
  • Decrease in overall performance


Most overuse injuries can be prevented with proper training and conditioning. In general, taking 2 days off each week and 2-3 months away from competitive practice for each specific sport, allows time for

physical and psychological recovery. Also, total distance, duration, and intensity should not increase by more than 10% per week while training.

Information for athletes, parents, coaches, trainers, and medical providers regarding sport-specific conditions can be found at www.stopsportsinjuries.org which is a collaboration of the American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine with multiple other orthopedic and pediatric professional organizations.

If you, or your child, is experiencing any of the above symptoms, call 801.571.9433 to schedule a consultation. Or visit our website – www.grangermedical.com/specialties/orthopedics-sports-medicine – for more information about our services and locations.

Blog post was written by James R. Meadows, MD – Board certified in Orthopedic Surgery & Sports Medicine.