This post is going to discuss overuse and abuse related dysfunctions.
As mentioned in Part I, overuse is often preceded by disuse. When many people think of overuse injuries, they typically think of some form of repetitive strain injury due to hours or days of demand put on a body part (think of a grocery clerk passing items through the scanner nonstop for a 6-8 hour shift). In my opinion, overuse injuries are not time dependent. Any injury caused by someone demanding more from their body than what they have the capacity to do falls under the overuse umbrella. For instance, think of an individual in a gym setting who is exhausting themselves set after set in an attempt to "feel the burn". This individual is now running on empty - he or she has just reached their capacity to perform the exercise. Instead of stopping, they contort their body in unimaginable ways to squeeze out that last repetition. In doing so, they've thrown their technique out the window and have hypothetically injured their low back while performing an "arm" exercise. The same thing applies if an individual simply tries to lift something once that is beyond their capabilities. Although they may not have exhausted themselves prior to the attempt, they have just "overused" their body while attempting to do something they should not or cannot do. Overuse injuries in the great majority of cases are preventable. This is where proper training methodology comes into play. If there is a discrepancy between your current physical limits and the demands of the sport(s) you play and/or occupation you currently have, talk to a health professional regarding some strategies you can use to build a physical capabilities "buffer" of sorts (through physical activity, proper nutrition, and rest/recovery strategies).
Abuse - in the context of contributors to dysfunction, is very similar to overuse. The primary difference between the two is the fact that abuse typically occurs when you are not in full control of your environment, subsequently leading to injury. This however does not mean that you cannot prepare yourself physically to withstand various situations that may otherwise leave you with some sort of tissue injury. It'd be difficult to make a case for physically conditioning your body to withstand a highway car collision... But it's not unreasonable to suggest that you can prepare yourself physically to recover from an abrupt slip on an icy sidewalk, or from a potential face-plant while running in the trails. Some people may lack the responsiveness and strength to avoid potential injury in these situations - but these are characteristics that are trainable and can be improved. Some of you may have done your own reading into different training programs and come across the commonly referenced "SAID principle". SAID stands for "specific adaptation to imposed demands", and its application goes beyond building muscular endurance, strength, etc. We can become more responsive, more mobile, etc. We can train tissues to be more resilient so they may withstand an increase in the load we put on them in challenging situations. For those of you that are colleagues and patients of mine, you know that Functional Range Conditioning is a huge contributor to the rehabilitative component of my practice (you can learn more about FRC in an earlier post). By adopting the methodologies of this system, both my patients and I have become more adaptable to whatever the environment throws at us. The take home point regarding this section is that issues such as recurrent ankle sprains does not have to be your "norm". You can rehabilitate your ankles (and any other contributor to the problem) in such a way that the likelihood of future injury is greatly reduced. Food for thought!
If you have any questions regarding any of the post I've put up, please feel free to comment on the post or send me a private message!