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Identifying Common Injuries in the Weekend Warrior

by Tara Hackney, PT, DPT, OCS, KTTPLeave a Comment

Weekend warriors are those that complete vigorous workouts and recreational activities on weekends with minimal physical activity during the rest of the week.

Many people fall into this routine due to decreased time for exercise during the week. Because of this pattern, certain types of injuries can be more common for the weekend warrior, including:

Achilles Tendinitis or Rupture

Symptoms: Pain in the back of the heel where the Achilles attaches to the heel bone may be a sign of an Achilles injury. Pain may feel like being kicked in the heel if a rupture has occurred. With a rupture, you are unable to bear weight afterward.

Commonly occurs during: Participating in activities that require quick speed, slowing down or pivoting put weekend warriors at the greatest risk for an Achilles injury – such as running, baseball, tennis and basketball.

Treatment: Achilles tendinitis is treated conservatively with physical therapy, including stretching and strengthening. Achilles ruptures can be treated with surgery or conservatively with casting.

Tips for Weekend Warriors: Weekend warriors should warm up before activity and include some calf stretches during cool down.

Plantar Fasciitis

Symptoms: Plantar fasciitis symptoms include pain in the bottom of the foot and/or heel. This condition generally presents with pain in the morning with the first few steps. Plantar fasciitis can gradually worsen leading to decreased participation in activities.

Commonly occurs during: Wearing improper foot support, along with activities like running and high levels of walking, can lead to plantar fasciitis.

Treatment: Treatment for plantar fasciitis may include calf stretching, icing, night splints, orthotic inserts or changing shoes.

Tips for Weekend Warriors: Proper footwear is important for all athletes. Weekend warriors should consider purchasing new shoes before the start of each season or when their previous pair wears out.

Tennis Elbow

Symptoms: Pain at the outside portion of the elbow that may radiate into the forearm is a symptom of tennis elbow.

Commonly occurs during: This injury can occur during a variety of activities with repetitive motion including tennis, gardening, golfing, or even during activities like hammering.

Treatment: Tennis elbow may be improved with stretching of the forearms, strengthening of the wrist, as well as strengthening of the shoulder and upper back muscles to help with posture when performing activities.

Tips for Weekend Warriors: To reduce the risk of tennis elbow, try stretching forearms and wrists prior to and after performing activities with the hands. Some people may find an elbow strap helpful for pain during activity.

Ankle Sprain

Symptoms: Ankle sprains may bruise, swell and make it difficult to put weight through the foot.

Commonly occurs during: There is a risk of ankle sprain involved with most activities, including running, golfing, tennis, kickball, etc.

Treatment: RICE– rest, ice, compression, and elevation – is a recommended treatment for acute injuries. Eventually range of motion and strengthening exercises should be incorporated before returning to activity, which will also help with preventing future injury.

Tips for Weekend Warriors: There are braces that can be helpful during healing and some find that wearing them during sports activities can help prevent re-injury – particularly for those who repeatedly sprain their ankles.

Shin Splints

Symptoms: Tenderness, soreness and pain along the lower leg and shin are all symptoms of shin splints. In addition, swelling may be present and symptoms may resolve initially with rest, but eventually pain may be constant.

Commonly occurs during: Shin splints are common in individuals who have changed or recently intensified their workout routine.

Treatment: Shin splints can be treated with rest, ice and over-the-counter medication. Stretching and strengthening of surrounding muscles may also help, as well as getting new shoes.

Tips for Weekend Warriors: Decrease the risk of shin splints by cross training, wearing proper shoes and arch supports.

Staying Active All Summer

Remember physical activity should be fun! Find an activity that you enjoy to fill your summer weekends and try to do some activity during the week to help your body adapt to these demands. If you are a weekend warrior suffering from an injury, please schedule a free screening at your closest Athletico location.

Free Injury Screen

The Athletico blog is an educational resource written by Athletico employees. Athletico bloggers are licensed professionals who abide by the code of ethics outlined by their respective professional associations. The content published in blog posts represents the opinion of the individual author based on their expertise and experience. The content provided in this blog is for informational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice and should not be relied on for making personal health decisions.

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About the Author:
Tara Hackney, a physical therapist in Marion, IA, enjoys working with all patient types, especially gymnasts, cheerleaders, and dancers. She is the prominent blogger for Athletico's Gymnastic/Cheer Program. With an orthopedic specialization and training in dry needling and Graston technique, Tara hopes to answer your questions about injuries and injury prevention in an easy-to-understand manner. She hopes to ease fears surrounding pain and injuries, address concerns about recovery, and provide tips to prevent injury. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her dog, reading, and watching her nephews play sports.

Read more health resources related to these topics:

Exerciseankle sprainplantar fasciitisshin splintstennis elbowweekend warrior

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