Physical Therapist Nate Koch reviews and grades several treatment options for common overuse injuries.
Written by: Nate Koch, PT, ATC
Overuse injuries have been rampant in triathlon since its inception and will continue to do so long into the future. One study in 2003 reported that overuse injuries accounted for 68 percent of preseason and 78 percent of competition season injuries. The term overuse injury can encompass just about any injury in the sport that does not involve a collision. Some examples of overuse injuries are Achilles tendinosis/tendinopathy, plantar fasciosis, anterior knee pain, ITB syndrome and sciatica. The medical terminology that describes the overuse injury and available treatments can be overwhelming.
Recognizing that all injuries and potential treatments cannot be addressed in one article, the most common treatment options for overuse injuries are highlighted below.
Eccentric Exercise: An eccentric muscle contraction occurs when a muscle and its associated tendon have to work while the muscle is being lengthened, such as by doing a negative lift in the gym. A physical therapist or athletic trainer can give you instructions on proper form, resistance and frequency.
Pros: A plethora of high-quality research supports the clinical effectiveness of eccentric exercise over other treatments in the management of tendon injuries. It’s the most low-tech, cheapest and most effective treatment available. It can be done at home in most cases, and instruction by a clinician is covered by insurance.
Cons: Requires a visit to a physical therapist or a certified athletic trainer to receive instruction on technique and proper progression.
Click the numbers below to see each of the treatment options.