carpal tunnel syndrome
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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Your median nerve and nine tendons pass through a tube called the carpal tunnel that goes from your forearm to your palm. Repeated motion, like texting, typing, or video gaming, can inflame the tube and push on the nerve. This could cause hand pain, numbness, tingling, and a weak grip. 

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foot exam
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Plantar Fasciitis

It’s the most common cause of pain on the bottom of your heel. The ligament that connects the front and back of your foot and supports your arch gets swollen and irritated.

Though it’s hard to know exactly what causes it, you’re more likely to get it if you repeat the same impact on your feet (when you run, for example). It’s more common when you start out.

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shoulder bursa
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Shoulder Bursitis

Small fluid-filled sacs called bursa cushion your joints and smooth the friction between muscle and bone. You can inflame them if you do the same motion over and over, like lifting boxes or serving a tennis ball. It can hurt enough to make it harder to do basic things like dress or comb your hair.

The shoulder is the most common spot for bursitis, but it can happen in your elbow, hip, knee, and anywhere else bones meet.  

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tennis player close up
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Tennis Elbow

Almost half of adults who play racquet sports (tennis, squash, racquetball) get this at some point. The repeated arm swing inflames the tendons that join your forearm muscles to the outside of your elbow (tendinopathy, sometimes called tendinitis).

Other motions -- turning a screwdriver, pulling weeds, swinging a hammer -- can also cause it. You may have pain and burning, especially when you use your arm. Your grip can get weaker, too. 

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box jump exercise close up
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Jumper's Knee

This is also a type of tendinopathy. Repeated running or jumping inflames the patellar tendon at the lower edge of your kneecap.

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shin splints anatomy
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Shin Splints

If you run a lot, like if you jog or play basketball, you can inflame the bone, muscle, and connecting tendons along the edge of your shinbone. It can get especially bad on hard surfaces like concrete. The wrong shoes might make it worse.

Afterward, it could be tender to the touch. A new workout or a sudden jump in how long you do it could cause it and might make it worse.

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stress fracture in foot
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Stress Fractures

Running, basketball, tennis, or any activity where you pound your feet over and over can cause tiny cracks in your bones, especially in your lower leg and foot. Doing it more often makes it more painful. Several weeks of rest is needed if you don’t want to make things worse. 

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iliotibial ligament
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IT Band Syndrome

The IT, or “Iliotibial” ligament runs along the outside of your leg. Repeated movement, like running, biking, or weightlifting, can rub this “band” against the bone and cause irritation, pain, and swelling. It may hurt more when you walk or run down a hill or stairs.

A warmup could ease the pain, but don’t let that fool you: If you don’t rest the injury to give it a chance to get better, it may turn into something worse.

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trigger finger
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Trigger Finger

Also known as stenosing tenosynovitis, this is when one of your fingers gets stuck in a bent position. The condition has its name because when your finger straightens, it can do so with a snap -- like when a trigger is pulled. If you have arthritis, particularly RA, it’s pretty common. It can also happen when you’re doing things like gardening, clipping, or using a computer mouse.

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jumping jacks
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Prevention: Warm Up

How do you keep these injuries from happening to you? Warming up before you push yourself is a good start. Whether you’re going to play an intense game of pick-up basketball or a casual round of golf, it’s a good idea to loosen up your muscles, ligaments, tendons, and joints. Walk, run in place, or do some jumping jacks. All it takes is 5-10 minutes -- a small price to pay to avoid injury.

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woman walking for exercise
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Prevention: Start Slow

You may be pumped to start your new exercise plan. But try not to overdo it. When you start a workout you haven’t done before, your body needs a chance to get used to it. Then, depending on your form of exercise, you can slowly add speed, distance, weight, or intensity, and track your response along the way.

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weightlifting with trainer
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Prevention: Do It Right

The most common cause of overuse injury in sports is bad technique. The slightest error or change in the form can have a huge effect. Even musicians can injure themselves this way. Trainers, coaches, teachers, and physical therapists can help make sure you’re doing things safely.

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yoga lotus position
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Prevention: Mix It Up

You can help avoid overuse if you vary your activities. For example, you might swim for your heart, lift weights for your muscles, and stretch to stay flexible. Or try something off the beaten path: Yoga combines strength, flexibility, and balance training, and adds meditation that’s good for mental health.

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rice home treatment
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Home Treatment: RICE

It’s the first treatment when you’re in pain from any overuse injury, or any other injury for that matter. It stands for:

  • Rest: Lie down and keep your weight off
  • Ice: 20 minutes at a time
  • Compression: Use a wrap bandage for support
  • Elevation: Raise the hurt area (above your nose if possible)

You can also use anti-inflammatory drugs to ease pain and swelling.

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doctor and patient examining xrays
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When to See Your Doctor

Make an appointment if pain hangs around or gets worse after a few days. Get to an emergency room right away if a joint looks oddly shaped or if the pain is intense. Tell your doctor about changes in your workout. They’ll likely suggest you stop the sport or motion that causes your pain, at least for a while. You may still be able to do other exercises that don’t aggravate things.

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physical therapy session
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This will depend on what causes your pain and where it is. Besides RICE, your doctor may suggest physical therapy exercises to help make the area stronger. Splints, casts, and braces might help you keep things still and protect the injured spot from more injury. Prescription medicine could help ease pain and swelling. In some cases, you might need surgery to make a full recovery.

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Sources | Medically Reviewed on 12/11/2018 Reviewed by Tyler Wheeler, MD on December 11, 2018


1) technotr / Getty Images

2) BartekSzewczyk / Thinkstock

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4) Dr P. Marazzi / Science Source

5) Dr P. Marazzi / Science Source

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7) Anatomical Travelogue / Science Source

8) Evan Oto / Science Source

9) Dr P. Marazzi / Science Source

10) AzmanL / Getty Images

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12) gpointstudio / Thinkstock

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15) Véronique Burger / Science Source

16) Phanie / Science Source



American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: “Shoulder Pain and Common Shoulder Problems,” “Stress Fractures,” “Plantar Fasciitis and Bone Spurs,” “Shin Splints,” “Tennis Elbow (Lateral Epicondylitis).”

American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine: “Overuse Injury.”

American Society for Surgery of the Hand: “Carpal Tunnel Syndrome."

Emory Healthcare: “IT Band Syndrome.”

George Mason University Center for Arts and Wellness: “Overuse Injury in Musicians.”

Harvard Health Publishing: “Tendonitis.”

Johns Hopkins Medicine: “Overuse Injuries.”

Mayo Clinic: “Overuse injury: How to prevent training injuries.”

Merck Manual: “Bursitis.”

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases: “Tendinitis,” “Sports Injuries.”

Palo Alto Medical Foundation: “Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Related to Texting & Laptop Use.”

University of Rochester Medical Center Encyclopedia: “Overuse Injuries.”

UpToDate: “Bursitis (Beyond the Basics).”

Reviewed by Tyler Wheeler, MD on December 11, 2018

This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.

THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.