Common Overuse Injuries

By Robert Lim, PTA


An overuse injury is any tendon, muscle, bone, or joint injury caused by repetitive trauma to the area.  The majority of overuse injuries are minor trauma involving soft tissue injuries that affect the bone, muscles, ligaments, and tendons. These injuries can also lead to stress fractures. Stress fractures are weak spots or small cracks in the bone caused by continuous overuse.

tennis player grabbing elbow from common overuse injuries

Common Overuse Injuries


  1. Achilles tendinitis is the tendon’s inflammation and is caused by overuse or a strain injury. Aging and sports activities that involve a lot of calf muscle use, like basketball and tennis, increase the risk of injury to the Achilles tendon. This can be caused by a sudden increase in the intensity or frequency of an exercise.
  2. Shin splints are a pain that affects the calves (shins) and causes a series of small tendinitis and stress fractures. This overuse injury often happens in runners. Specifically, shin splints develop when shoes do not have enough padding.
  3.  Pain found on the underside of the foot.  Therefore, the injury is caused when the strong tissue band that supports your foot’s arch becomes irritated and inflamed.  To learn more about Plantar Fasciitis, this VIDEO may help.
  4. Patellofemoral pain (PFPS), also known as runner’s knee, is the most common. It causes pain around and under the kneecap. Many things may contribute to the development of patellofemoral pain.  Problems with the alignment of the kneecap and overuse from athletics or training are often significant factors.
  5. Elbow tendonitis refers to the inflammation present in the tendons and connective tissue at the elbow.  Epicondylitis is an inflammation that involves the bony attachment (epicondyle) of the elbow tendons. Elbow tendinitis and epicondylitis can occur in anyone who repetitively uses the elbow by consistently rotating the forearm muscle tendons. The most common elbow tendinitis is tennis elbow and golfers elbow.


image of runner grabbing leg from common overuse injuries

A runner with an overuse injury

  • Gradual onset of pain
  • Pain presenting as an ache
  • No history of direct injury
  • Stiffness or aching
  • Increasing periods of time for the pain to go away
  • Point tenderness and visible swelling



  • Rest the injured muscle, tendon, ligament, or bone. Give it time to heal, and for pain goes away. This might involve activity modification regarding the type of activity.
  • Icing the injury. The use of ice is the best anti-inflammatory you can use. Immediately, try to ice the injury 10-15 mins at least 3 times a day.
  • Use over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications to help relieve symptoms.
  • Gently stretch the injured muscle, tendon, or ligament. Stretching does mean no pain, no gain.
Calf muscle stretch for plantar fasciitis

Calf Stretching can help plantar fasciitis

What Do I Do If I Have a Common Overuse Injury?

The quick answer is you probably need to be evaluated by a physician.  Early treatment for overuse injuries can improve your outcome.  The Jacksonville Orthopaedic Institute is the area’s leader in treating overuse injuries.  With 5 Orthopedic Medical Offices and 12 Rehabilitation Centers, we are convenient for almost everyone.  Please call 904-858-7045 for Physical Therapy appointments.

To schedule an appointment with a JOI Orthopedic Doctor, call 904-JOI-2000, schedule online, or click the link below.

Book An Appointment with a JOI Physician

Image of Book An Appointment with a JOI Physician

By: Robert Lim, PTA, Site Coordinator.


Skip to content