Overtraining Injuries

Athletes often mistakenly assume that when it comes to training, more is better. This approach, however, often leads to overtraining, which can be described as a pattern of exercise that is too frequent and too intense for a particular athlete’s level of strength and fitness. Basically, the athlete trains too hard and does not take sufficient time for recovery. This is especially common when the athlete is preparing for a big competition or event or when he or she is returning from a previous injury. Overtraining can lead to a wide variety of injuries, including shin splints, stress fractures, tendonitis, and muscle sprains and strains. In many cases, these injuries develop following initial pain and fatigue that the athlete ignored. In addition to injuries, athletes who overtrain may suffer from sleep issues, chronic fatigue, hormonal imbalances, reduced appetite, problems concentrating, elevated heart rate (even at rest), problems or disruptions of the menstrual cycle (in females), and impaired immunity. Treatment of overtraining injuries typically involves rest, icing, stretching, and physical therapy to correct weaknesses that originally led to injury. Physical therapists also can help athletes create a safe training plan that aligns with their fitness goals while simultaneously minimizing the risk of reinjury.