Category Archives: Injury Prevention

Overtraining Series, Pt. 1: Signs & Symptoms

Overtraining is sometimes difficult to diagnose. However, there are signs and symptoms that can help you determine whether you should take a break.

Overtraining is sometimes difficult to diagnose. However, there are signs and symptoms that can help you determine whether you should take a break.

You’re at the gym working out and for the third time in a row, you’re having difficulty finishing your usual exercises. You chalk it up to simply being tired – after all, you haven’t been sleeping well that last few nights. You’re also noticing that you hurt a little bit more than usual. However, you just keep telling yourself, “No pain, no gain.” So you continue day after day, pushing yourself to your limits and yet your performance is going downhill. Training overall is becoming less enjoyable and you dread each and every workout. You start to think that perhaps you should just ease up and take a rest, but you’re too fearful that you’ll suffer a setback. Meanwhile, you’re setting yourself up for a major setback – overtraining, which is a leading cause of injury.

What Is Overtraining?

Overtraining is extremely hard to diagnose, especially in the early stages. After all, it’s hard to differentiate between simple tiredness and true exhaustion from pushing yourself too hard. Simply put, overtraining is pushing yourself too hard without the necessary recovery time. Too much stress + not enough recovery time = overtraining.

Common Signs & Symptoms Of Overtraining

Overtraining is sometimes hard to diagnose, especially without the help of a trainer or sports medicine professional. However, there are signs that present themselves that can help you determine whether you need to take a rest.

  1. Fatigue is the hardest symptom to find. It’s hard to determine whether you’re tired from life, lack of sleep, or too much exercise. However, if you’re more tired than you should be, i.e. you’re getting enough sleep and yet can’t get out of bed in the morning, then it could be a sign you’re exercising too much.
  2. Elevated heart rate or a racing heart is a big sign of overtraining. This will happen especially in the morning when you’re heart rate should be the lowest.
  3. You’re sick – all the time. If you’re constantly getting sick, chances are you’re not giving your body enough time to recover. Decreased immunity is a big symptom of overtraining.
  4. Your performance is down and strength is waning. If you’re finding it difficult to make it through a normal workout or practice, then it’s time to take a step back to see if you’re pushing yourself too hard.
  5. Insomnia may be the cause of your exhaustion during the day. Having difficulty sleeping or having a restful sleep means your body isn’t getting the needed recovery time between workouts.
  6. Emotional instability is another sign of overtraining. Feeling sad or depressed or having emotional outbursts is a sign of being overly tired, which could be an indication of exercising too much.
  7. Extended soreness all over the body, in either the muscles or joints, indicates not enough recovery time. Soreness is a typical sign of pushing your limits, but if it doesn’t go away within a couple of days, you need to take a break.

Exercising Is A Balancing Act

Too little exercise can lead to being overweight and having cardiovascular problems, while too much exercise has a whole set of other health problems. Exercising affects us mentally, physically, and emotionally. If done correctly, it has a positive effect on our minds and bodies. However, if done incorrectly, it could have detrimental effects, leading to injury, and even mental and emotional instability. It can even lead to fatal health problems, such as a condition known as rhabdo.

When training or exercising, whether you’re an athlete or simply staying fit, it’s important to make sure you don’t have any of these signs or symptoms of overtraining.




3 Tips For Summer Sports Training

Whether you play summer sports or are now in the training season, summer sports training brings a completely new set of safety concerns.

Whether you play summer sports or are now in the training season, summer sports training brings a completely new set of safety concerns.

Summer is finally here. The snow has melted; the sunshine is warm; the single-digit temperatures have finally left for the season. Now’s the time to take your summer sports training outdoors, after being stuck inside for what used to seem like months on end. Whether you play summer sports or are now in the training season for your cold-weather sports, training and playing outdoors brings a completely new set of safety concerns.

As training ramps up during the warmer months for fall and winter sports, so do many injuries. However, you don’t want to have to sit out your entire season because you injured yourself during your summer sports training. Furthermore, no one wants to have to sit out the summer. From enjoying the outdoors on a trail run or hike to hitting the beach for some swimming and volleyball, it would be a shame to have to stay indoors because of an injury. If you’d rather be playing outside than stuck on a couch indoors or worse, a hospital bed, keep these tips in mind for your summer sports training.

1. Stay Hydrated

Yes, it seems like a no-brainer. However, it’s quite common for people to forget to load up on water when heading outdoors, particularly on a sunny and hot day. In fact, up to 75% of Americans don’t get enough hydration. Dehydration can cause fatigue, joint pain, headaches, and even high blood pressure. Specifically, with fatigue, serious injuries can occur both from over-training and traumatic accidents.

So how much water should you drink? The Mayo Clinic recommends drinking at least 13 cups, or 3 liters, of beverages a day for males and at least 9 cups, or 2.2 liters, for a woman. That’s a lot of water!

2. Watch For Symptoms Of Heat Exhaustion/Stroke

Heat exhaustion and stroke can sometimes be hard to detect as many of the symptoms come with, well, being hot. It’s not rare to sweat in the sun, have hot or red skin, or even feel a tad tired when you’re out in the sun all day. However, when the sweating becomes heavy accompanied by weakness and vomiting or even fainting, it’s time to head indoors and get away from the heat as soon as possible. Such symptoms as high body temperatures, rapid pulse, unconsciousness, fainting, and nausea can all be indications of heat exhaustion or stroke. It’s especially important to call 911 immediately if someone has fainted or become unconscious.

3. Avoid Peak Hours for Your Summer Sports Training

Consider moving your workouts to the morning or evening to avoid heat exhaustion or stroke entirely. Peak temperatures during the summer are typically from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Not only do you minimize your risk for heat exhaustion, but you also may prevent heat cramps. Heat cramps are extremely painful and oftentimes preventable. They are involuntary muscle spasms that occur when you’re too hot, and often happen in the legs and/or arms.

Don’t Risk An Injury

The majority of injuries often result from fatigue and cramping, two symptoms of not playing it safe while in the sun. It can lead to overuse injuries that can keep you from enjoying the summer. It can even lead to serious injuries that keep you out for the upcoming season. If you’re unsure how to train safely during the summer, seek out assistance from an athletic trainer or physical therapist who can give you advice on avoiding and preventing injuries. You’ll stay at the top of your game if you train smart all summer long.

The 3 Major Ways To Prevent Tennis Injuries

Overuse injuries are some of the most common tennis injuries.

Tennis is becoming an increasingly popular sport, and with that, there is a rise in injuries associated with it. Although not a contact sport or considered high-impact, tennis presents its own unique risk to injuries. Traumatic injuries are rare in tennis, but overuse injuries are quite common.

An overuse injury can occur in any muscle or joint and is caused by repetition and strain. You don’t have to be out of shape to get an overuse injury, nor are you immune to it if you’re the fittest of athletes. It can plague anyone in any sport and at any time. However, your risk factor for an overuse injury in tennis can increase for the two following reasons:

  1. You’re not training properly and so putting too much strain on your muscles.
  2. You don’t have proper technique.

The most typical injuries for a tennis player are:

  • Tennis elbow, which is an overuse of the muscle that moves the wrist up or down;
  • Shoulder injuries, especially the rotate cuff muscles;
  • Stress fractures from training improperly;
  • Muscle strains from quick and sudden moves, especially in the knees.

Although it’s impossible to avoid injury 100% of the time, there are ways to prevent injury or lower the risk to overuse tennis injuries.

1. Train Properly

To avoid injury in any sport, training properly is essential. However, because tennis uses smaller muscles with extreme repetition, it’s important to do proper strengthening of the most-used muscles. Furthermore, it’s also important to do proper strengthening and condition of the supporting muscles to decrease the likelihood of an overuse injury. Having a regular warm-up and cool-down routine as well as cross training will help prevent injuries, such as tennis elbow and rotator cuff injuries.

2. Increase Intensity Slowly

Stress fractures are not common among professional tennis players, and researchers think it’s because of a gradual training increase. Unlike younger tennis players, professional players do not increase the intensity in their training rapidly, but rather at a gradual pace. Increasing to rapidly puts more stress on the bone as the muscles tire quickly, leading to stress fractures and muscle strains.

3. Warm Up To Avoid A Tennis Injury

Like training properly, warming up is essential to preventing a tennis injury. Having a proper and regular warm-up routine will help lower your risk of an injury. Such routines should include stretches that are held for 30 seconds or more while not bouncing. Furthermore, moving stretches are the best, such as swinging your leg backward and forward or doing arm circles. A total warm-up routine should include cardiovascular exercises like slow jogging or jumping jacks to increase the heart rate slowly, followed by at least 5 minutes of stretching.

OSR Can Help You Recover From And Prevent Tennis Injuries

OSR physical therapists can help recover from a tennis injury and even prevent future injuries. By working on alignment, technique, strengthening, and proper training, our physical therapists and certified athletic trainers can put you back on the road to recovery. We treat a variety of overuse injuries with active rehabilitation along with specialty rehabilitation techniques. Contact one of our three locations today to schedule an appointment.

Benefits of Foam Rolling

Have you seen people using foam cylinders to roll on muscles? Do you wonder if you should be doing that too?

This practice is commonly referred to as foam rolling or self-myofascial release. It used to decrease muscle “knots”.

Where Do “Knots” Come From?

As the National Academy of Sports Medicine (1) describes it, inflammation activates pain receptors; this leads to heightened activity in particular areas of the muscle. These areas of the muscle become less elastic so that they do not stretch. Holding pressure on these areas can decrease this tension, which can then be followed with stretching techniques.Additionally, a muscle that does not have optimal length does not have optimal strength. Releasing these “knots,” can be beneficial prior to your strength training.

If you feel muscle tension, want to improve your posture, want to get more out of your strength training, or are involved in sports or activities that require range of motion, you may want to consider trying this technique as part of your regular practice. If you are new to this technique, try holding about 30 seconds or until the spot is 20-30% less tender. If you are experienced, try 90
seconds or until the spot is about 70% less tender.

Here are a few of my favorite techniques. Stay tuned, as we will share more in weeks to come! have a question or want to share ideas? Leave us a reply!


Please be sure to consult with a medical professional prior to trying this if you have any possible contraindications including but not limited to: osteoporosis, active infections, bursitis, bleeding disorders, eczema/skin conditions, healing fractures, poor sensation or circulation, organ failure, blood clot, or are taking anticoagulants.

(1) Clark, MA, Lucett, SC. NASM Essentials of Corrective Exercise Training. Wolters Kluwer Health: Philadelphia. 2011.

How To Do Foam Rolling

Have you ever been curious about those foam rollers?  If so here is an introduction to foam rolling and the what’s, why’s and some how’s.

We will have more videos in the future with even more foam rolling exercises!


Ski Season is getting closer

Even though this has not been a typical Minnesota winter our local skiing destinations are busy making fresh powder for us to enjoy.  With that fresh powder comes new stresses on our muscles and joints.  If this winter you are suffering from the aches and pains that accompany ski season come in to OSR for help.  At OSR we have a variety of different ways to get you back to normal and
we try to make your appointments specific to your wants and needs.

 Our Skiers Edge

Here are some great tips when it comes to winter sports and avoiding injury from the National Athletic Trainers’ Association:

Here is a link for the three rivers park district:

Have a great winter season!


Preparing for fall fitness, physique, and bodybuilding competitions

Competitors know that you are judged on your physique. Judging sheets often show comments like “bigger shoulders,” “work on your abs,” etc. Competitors work year around in the gym on improving, yet sometimes that one trouble area won’t seem to build muscle or lean out.

There are many reasons for this, and sometimes this is due to a muscle imbalance. Many fitness and bodybuilding programs target the big muscles with movements like lateral shoulder raises, squats, and lunges. However, you also need good muscle activation and use of your stabilizing muscles in order to get the desired result from your lunges.

Here are a few videos that show gluteal (or “butt”) activation exercises. Try adding a few at the beginning of your program (before you do those squats) today. See what you find over the next several weeks of incorporating these exercises and share your findings with us.

Do Your Feet Hurt?

If your feet or lower legs are bothering you here is a nice way to self myofascial release the fascia of your feet!