Preventing Overuse Injuries from Sidelining Young Athletes

Overuse injuries have become a serious problem among young athletes because they are training more than ever—often in one sport.

“They are not stressing their bodies in different ways. They are doing very specific things over and over, repetitively,” says Michael Medvecky, MD, chief of Yale Medicine Sports Medicine.

While there are surgical and nonsurgical treatments to address an acute or chronic injury, that is just the first step of recovery. In order to ensure the athlete fully heals, a personalized rehabilitation process must be put into place.

This involves embracing data in the form of different strength and functional tests that simulate the athlete’s sport. With this information, medical providers help athletes retrain and reprogram their balance, coordination, and other movement patterns. This allows providers to move away from former arbitrary guidelines that matched up with dates on a calendar—and not milestones that were happening during recovery, explains Elizabeth Gardner, MD, a Yale Medicine orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist.

Relying on objective information, rather than subjective, also means providers can give athletes attainable goals—something they thrive on—during their rehabilitation.

This video tells Blake's and Erin's stories of how they got back to playing the sports they love thanks to being treated by Dr. Gardner and physical therapist Colleen Leonhard.