Overuse Injury Follow-up

Updated: Jul 31, 2017
  • Author: Scott R Laker, MD; Chief Editor: Consuelo T Lorenzo, MD  more...
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Follow-up

Deterrence/Prevention

Minimizing repetition when possible, optimizing techniques within the offending activity, minimizing vibration and force, and avoiding awkward positioning are the first steps in prevention.

Improving job satisfaction, as well as teaching stress management techniques and coping skills, has led to some decrease in repetitive stress injuries.

Athletes may require an expert evaluation of their techniques in order to determine any modifications that can be used. Proper-fitting equipment is also crucial in preventing overuse injury. Foot orthoses can reduce the injury rate in the lower limbs. [31]

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Prognosis

Most overuse injuries resolve after 3-6 months. However, unless the offending causes are addressed, recurrences are quite common. Patient motivation and commitment to prevention are key to rehabilitating these injuries.

Home exercise programs tailored to the individual's biomechanics are another important facet of treatment.

Recovery after surgery varies depending on the procedure.

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Patient Education

Education is an indispensable part of the treatment program for patients with overuse injuries. For several reasons, the interested patient should receive as detailed an explanation of the diagnosis and the treatment program as possible.

  • Conveying this information establishes patient confidence that the physician is knowledgeable and trustworthy. Without this confidence, the patient is likely to seek help elsewhere or may not adhere to the recommended treatment program.
  • Patients also should agree with the physician's explanation of the problem so that they will participate appropriately in the intervention program. If a patient does not believe in an allopathic explanation of his/her disorder, the patient is unlikely to participate effectively in an allopathic treatment program
  • Education also gives patients reasonable expectations of the interventions planned and of their own responsibility to follow recommendations at home (eg, activity modification, exercise).

The causes and prevention of overuse injuries must be explicated, and it is appropriate to state that this is an area of some controversy within the medical community. For athletes and performing artists, who generally are people who are highly motivated to resume the offending activity as soon as possible, emphasis must be placed on the long-term consequences of returning to their activities too early. For those with probable secondary-gain issues, the physical and psychological complications of lack of activity must be emphasized.

For patient education resources, see the First Aid and Injuries Center. Also, see the patient education articles Repetitive Motion Injuries and Sprains and Strains.

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