We see plenty of injuries every month but there is a class which plagues athletes more than any other. It is insidious and creeps up seemingly out of nowhere. It’s sets athletes back days, weeks, months, and in extreme cases – a year or more. Which injuries are these? The injuries caused by overtraining and overuse.
This is a tough topic. Most athletes come in hurt and ask if they can be fixed. Usually the answer is yes, BUT you need to take it easy. The running or cycling mileage is too high. Too much cardio too often. Or maybe three days of back squats a week is too many. Whatever the case, you’re just doing too much.
We get it. You’re peaking before competition. That’s awesome. But your body is sending out warning signs. Your knee is talking to you at mile 5 instead of mile 20. Your shoulder feels fine while you’re swimming and then aches for two days. Competitive athletes are always walking the line between max effort and too much. Just remember, not every day is race day. Sometimes you can’t follow your training plan to a tee. Sometimes you need to back off. It doesn’t make you weak. It doesn’t mean you’re lazy. It means you’re heeding your body’s sage wisdom. Save the body for competition day. Get the rest and recovery in. Power yourself with good nutrition. Take time to heal. You don’t need to go dead stop. Just cut back to where you can train without pain.
We’ve had the same scenario play out over and over. At least one athlete every year who goes too far after we see them for the first signs of repetitive stress. We take the pain away and advise them to cut back on their training. We remind them they would rather be healthy and slightly undertrained for a competition than injured and overtrained. But they continue anyway because they think we can put the wheels back on forever. But the body doesn’t work that way. Typically we advise people starting to see these injuries to get some images taken by their doctor. If they continue past this point, they end up needing surgery or extensive rehabilitation. Don’t let this be you! Take some time to focus on other areas of the body. Stop doing what hurt you.
Key takeaway: don’t overdo it. You’re not lazy or weak. If you’re not sure what’s going on with that pain issue, give us a call!