Overuse injuries - A big problem at all levels

Joint and other musculoskeletal injuries can happen at any age. Microtrauma (or overuse) injuries result from frequent or repeated use of muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints, and bones. Remodeling, the breakdown and growth of new tissue, can strengthen muscles, tendons, bones, and ligaments. But, when tissue continues to break down faster than it rebuilds, overuse injuries begin to occur. In the past an athlete might be labeled as "injury-prone" but in many cases the athlete has simply become more susceptible to injuries from overuse.


  • Pain immediately after or within 12 hours of exercising or activity 
  • Pain during and after exercise or activity that does not prevent movement and eventually gets better 
  • Recurring pain during and after exercise or activity that comes and goes
  • Constant or chronic pain that prevents movement that does not get better
  • Overuse injuries are common in college and professional sports because of the intense nature and extended length of training and competition. Intense and prolonged training sometimes does not allow muscles, tendons and ligaments to sufficiently recover. As a result, even the most elite athletes can become susceptible to injury. 

Overuse injuries develop over time.

When overused muscles or joints don’t sufficiently heal, they can result in ruptured tendons and ligaments, fractures, broken bones, and partial or complete loss of joint function. About 15 years ago, the topic of athletes and overuse injuries started becoming more prevalent at the high school, college and professional levels. Recent studies now show overuse injuries are also affecting younger age groups and higher numbers of female athletes. The CDC has estimated that overuse injuries represent between 46% - 54% of all sports injuries.

Many athletes tend to try to "fight through the pain" rather than sit on the sidelines. Most don't realize, that in the long run, they are hurting their team because they're not able to compete at optimum levels. The easiest thing athletes can do is to use and make recovery tools a part of their daily routine.

The mindset for daily recovery must become a priority, not an afterthought.

Ice is sometime used during the first 24-48 hours after an acute injury to reduce acute inflammation, swelling and pain. A study from the Cleveland Clinic shows that ongoing applications of ice delays healing by preventing the body from releasing IGF-1 (Insulin-like Growth Factor-1), a hormone that helps heal damaged tissue (Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, November 2010).

Inflammation can operate in stealth mode for years.

Heart researchers were among the first to stumble upon inflammation’s potential for destruction. We know much more today about the dangers of untreated inflammation. Inflammation damages the muscle fibers, causing weakness, and may affect the arteries and blood vessels that run through the muscle. Inflammation is a root cause that contributes to the progression of overuse over time, so it must be controlled each day.

When people have untreated inflammation it often hurts, they feel pain, stiffness, and discomfort depending on the severity of it. Tendinitis, a common sports injury, is the inflammation of a tendon - tissue that connects muscle to bone. If left untreated, tendinitis can lead to lifelong arthritis or other degenerative joint diseases.

1. The Initial Inflammatory Phase - This phase can last up to 72 hours, and involves a number of inflammatory responses, manifested by pain, swelling, redness, and increased temperature around an affected body part.

2. The Fibroelastic / Collagen-forming Phase - This phase lasts from 48 hours up to 6 weeks. During this time regeneration occurs. This is a risky period because the absence of pain may tempt the athlete to return to intense training and competition before the injured tissues are fully rehabilitated.

3. Remodeling Phase - This phase lasts from 3 weeks to 12 months. It is characterized by the remodeling of collagen to increase the functional capabilities of muscles, tendons, or other tissues.

Some athletes choose to control inflammation with prescription and non-prescription drugs. But, the possible side effects caused by long term use of these drugs concern many. Technology is being used to provide safer, natural aids and modalities that athletes can use to help accelerate recovery after training and competition.

Cool Contour™ Recovery Wraps use a water-activated evaporative cooling technology to accelerate recovery before and after injury. Rather than just hoping for the best, athletes of all ages are using these new modalities to gain an advantage and for injury prevention.
Cool Contour™ Recovery Wraps are an easy remedy for a very big problem that has only gotten worse due to sports specialization – The OVERUSE of joints and muscles.