Overuse injuries and training load
Authored by Sam Bugeja, Sport and Exercise Physiotherapist at Lifecare Malvern.
Most overuse injuries occur as a result of training error. A training error occurs when training load is increased more rapidly than the athlete can tolerate. The human body needs time to adapt to a given training load and rapid changes in training intensity or volume can lead to pathological overload of tissues through not allowing adequate adaptation time.
Load management is about controlling training loads to optimise performance and reduce the risk of injury. Too little or too much training can result in failure or injury.
Training load is a measure of type, volume, intensity, and frequency of training. The first step in managing training loads is to measure and record it. There are many methods that can be used to measure loads. One commonly used method is to record the time and intensity of each training session. The intensity can be measured using a Rating of Perceived Exertion or RPE scale of 1-10 (1 being the easiest and 10 being the hardest). If training time is multiplied by RPE then you have a measure of the load for that session. You can then calculate training load for each week, month, etc.
Recording this is the first step towards reducing training errors and reducing your risk of overuse injury. Sports Physiotherapists are well versed in training load, training error, overuse injuries, and injury risk reduction.