While practice makes perfect, practicing too hard or training incorrectly can lead to overuse injuries. Caused by a repetitive stress to a muscle, bone or tendon, overuse injuries can be subtle and develop over time. You may begin to feel chronic pain even at rest. Common examples include tendinitis, shin splints or bursitis.
Overuse injuries happen to people of all ages, but can be especially common for student athletes when they take on too much, too soon, or have poor form. When the body does not have enough time to recover, the breakdown of tissue happens faster than the buildup that occurs when exercise is done properly.
“Growing bones can be less resilient to stress, putting children and teens at increased risk,” said Aaron Wolkoff, DO, Orthopedic Specialist and Medical Director of GO Ortho. “Student athletes should avoid excessive training programs, be sure to get a yearly physical, and avoid specializing in one sport before they reach puberty.”
Overuse injuries can be prevented by keeping good form and listening to your body when something starts to hurt. “You must practice proper technique and give your body ample time to rest,” said Dr. Wolkoff. To relieve minor aches or sprains at home, Dr. Wolkoff recommends icing and elevating the injury. You may also try a compression wrap or take ibuprofen for the pain.
AN ALTERNATIVE TO THE ER
If the pain from an injury seems unmanageable, many believe they need to go to the emergency room. But the ER is primarily designed to serve life-threatening emergencies. An urgent care center may be able to help you, but you will likely be seen by a generalist—not an orthopedic specialist. In both cases, you will walk out with a referral to have a second appointment with a specialist.
Fortunately, there are orthopedic urgent care centers such as GO Ortho. GO Ortho is an independent practice that cares for a wide range of orthopedic conditions from acute pain resulting from a break or overuse injury, to chronically painful conditions like arthritis. This facility is staffed by orthopedic specialists and accepts walk-ins and same-day appointments. This enables patients to get in with a specialist to take care of their pain much sooner than typical orthopedic offices, which may not have an open appointment for weeks.
Because you are seeing an orthopedic specialist, conditions are more accurately diagnosed and properly treated. GO Ortho staff are trained to provide sophisticated treatments, advanced orthopedic imaging, and outfit patients in the latest in slings, braces, casting and other support devices.
“Our goal is to change the delivery of medical care. We help families avoid the hospital or emergency room to receive the immediate care they need, directly from a specialist,” said Dr. Wolkoff. There is also a significant monetary savings to the patient since a GO Ortho visit is charged as a regular orthopedic office visit and not as an ER/emergency level visit that may come with a high cost to the patient. GO Ortho see patients age one and up and accepts most major insurance carriers.
“While we do advocate going to the ER when you are faced with a severe medical problem, most orthopedic pains and conditions are not life threatening and are best treated by an orthopedic specialist. The fastest way to see one is to go to GO Ortho,” said Dr. Wolkoff. GO Ortho is located at the Hillcrest Hospital Medical Office Building, Suite 410. Learn more at www.godoctornow.com.