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Overuse Injuries: Signs and Symptoms


The following are signs and symptoms of overuse injuries:

  • Gradual onset of pain
  • Pain presenting as an ache
  • No history of direct injuryKnee pain
  • Stiffness or aching after or during training or competition
  • Increasing periods of time for pain to go away
  • Point tenderness
  • Visible swelling
  • Missed training sessions as a result of pain or injury
  • A problem that persists.

"These signs and symptoms should not be ignored as 'growing pains' but should be taken seriously by the athlete, parent, and coach," says a 2011 position statement on overuse injuries issued by the National Athletic Trainers' Association published in its Journal of Athletic Training.1

  • Athletes involved in running sports should be educated about sensible training habits and the proper fit and selection of running shoes to reduce impact forces. 
  • Athletes involved in throwing sports should be educated about the possible risk factors for elbow and shoulder injuries, with specific emphasis on using arm fatigue as an indicator to stop throwing.
  • All athletes should be educated about proper exercise progression using the 10% rule.

1. Valovich McLeod TC, Decoster LC, Loud KJ, Micheli LJ, Parker JT, Sandrey MA, White C.  National Athletic Trainers' Association Position Statement: Prevention of Pediatric Overuse Injuries.  J Ath. Tr. 2011;46(2):206-220. 

Posted March 15, 2011