You are probably committed to working out if you have a regular exercise habit. You strive to perfect your form and your body. But as with most things, getting too much of a good thing is possible. Overtraining is a common topic in sports medicine.
If you exercise regularly and don’t vary your exercise routine very much or take occasional breaks, it’s possible to fall into the trap of overtraining. When you overtrain, you’re more at risk for certain injuries, especially to your foot and ankle. The providers at Washington Foot & Ankle Sports Medicine explain more about overtraining, the risks to your foot and ankle, and how you can prevent them.
Spraining your ankle or your foot is a common injury associated with overtraining. You may find that you sprain your ankle or foot easily or often, requiring some (usually unwanted) rest time to allow your body to recover and heal.
If the Achilles tendon — the longest tendon in your body, which runs along the back of your lower leg to your foot — becomes inflamed, it may cause a lot of pain. Achilles tendonitis is a very common condition, especially among runners. Achilles tendonitis is a serious condition that can lead to worse conditions, including tearing your Achilles tendon.
You can damage the ligaments in your ankle as a result of overtraining. The outer ligament in your ankle is most likely to get injured, although you can also damage the ligament inside your ankle. This is more likely if you’re a competitive athlete and regularly train, especially if you continue to do so while in pain.
An osteochondral lesion is a bruise on the bone inside your ankle. This may be especially likely if you continue to run on an injured ankle. Tests like X-rays or an arthroscopy take a closer look at your ankle to determine if there is a piece of cartilage out of place or loose fragments, which may identify the cause of the bruise.
IT band syndrome
The iliotibial (or IT) band is a common injury among runners. You may not recognize it as related to your ankle because the IT band runs along the side of your knee. But if your ankle is injured and not fully healed while you continue to exercise, it can cause your IT band to inflame.
How to prevent overtraining injuries
Most of the injuries caused by overtraining are preventable. Some of the best ways to prevent overtraining injuries include the following:
Get a good night’s sleep
You need to get regular rest if you want your body to heal between exercise sessions properly. Even if you’re busy at work and you have limited time, you might choose to exercise and shortchange your sleep by an hour. This is a bad idea, though. Your body needs a full night of sleep to help your body to recover from your workouts.
Eat a healthy diet
You need to eat a healthy diet to be in the best shape for athletic performance. Of course, you can have an occasional treat, but most of your diet should focus on consuming vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, and lots of water.
Stretch and warm-up
You still need to stretch and warm up your muscles if you’re regularly exercising. Failing to do so can increase your risk of developing injuries. You may figure you can skip stretching and warming up before a workout, but creating an excellent warm-up routine can help avoid potential injuries.
If you’re exercising on regularly but notice that you tend to get injured — especially if it happens frequently — you should make an appointment with the Run Doctor specialists. Contact the providers at Washington Foot & Ankle Sports Medicine or request an appointment online.