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Overuse injuries occur from stressing your joints, muscles, or other tissues without allowing them to recover. For example, throwing a baseball at high speeds over and over can stress your shoulder joint and cause an injury to part of that joint (the rotator cuff). Stress fractures, in which a bone breaks from the pressure placed on it through activity, are also common for athletes.

Overuse injuries can be caused by:

  • Doing too much too soon.
  • Doing intense exercise.
  • Not varying your activity or exercise routine.
  • Playing sports.
  • Doing too much without proper conditioning.
  • Not using the proper form for the activity.
  • Not using proper equipment, such as wearing poorly fitting shoes.
  • Doing too much of an activity at work.

For more information, see the topic:

  • Achilles Tendon Problems. (A sign may be pain in the back of the heel.)
  • Bursitis and/or Tendon Injury (Tendinopathy). (A sign may be pain in the joints or tendons.)
  • Low Back Pain.
  • Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome. (A sign may be pain in the front of the knee.)
  • Plantar Fasciitis. (A sign may be pain in the sole of the foot.)
  • Rotator Cuff Disorders. (A sign may be shoulder or arm pain.)
  • Tennis Elbow. (A sign may be elbow pain.)
  • Fitness: Getting and Staying Active

By: Healthwise Staff Last Revised: July 17, 2012
Medical Review: E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Heather Chambliss, PhD - Exercise Science

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