The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

Nearly 30% of College Athlete Sports Injuries Are Due to Overuse

Posted by on Friday, October 11th, 2013


Overuse sports injuries comprise nearly 30% of all injuries suffered by college athletes. A new study published in the Journal of Athletic Training found that the most common overuse injuries suffered included: stress fractures (27%), inflammation (21%), and tendinitis (16%). They also found that 62% of the injured athletes were women.

 Which Sports Cause Overuse Injuries?

The study examined 573 male and female athletes from Michigan State University participating in 16 team sports. Over a three year period, there were 1,317 injuries — nearly 30% of which were overuse injuries and 70% were acute accidents.

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Sports like wrestling, football, and women’s soccer carried the highest risk of acute injuries, while sports like field hockey, women’s soccer, softball, and volleyball had the highest rates of overuse injuries. Other sports that saw frequent overuse sports injuries included rowing, cross-country, and track.

What Are The Consequences Of Overuse Sports Injuries?

“Most of the time, these injuries can be prevented by appropriate rest when early signs are detected, rather than ignoring the problem and playing or running though the pain until it is unbearable,” says Dr. Nadia Levy of The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine in NYC.

Yet, loss of playing time, reduced function, and psychological exhaustion can take its toll on a player’s psyche. College-level athletes in particular are more likely to brush off the pain to get more playing time in hopes of going pro. “Early consultation for advice before it becomes a chronic issue is so important, though,” she adds. Undiagnosed or untreated overuse injuries can lead to deformities and arthritis in the long run.

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Why Are College Athletes Getting These Sports Injuries?

The fact that so many women, specifically, are being injured is worthy of closer inspection. There are gender-specific biomechanical and hormonal influences unique to female athletes. According to Stanford researchers, numerous studies show that female athletes are naturally deficient in lower limb neuromuscular control, which sets them up for knee and leg injuries. Sometimes inadequate caloric intake and poor nutrition can cause chronic sports injuries in women athletes engaged in running, gymnastics, and rowing especially.

There can be more than one root cause for a sports injury, which is why it’s so important to see a professional at the first sign of trouble, says Dr. Ryan Minara, a NYC sports medicine specialist. “Is it errors in training technique or over-training? Is it a problem with athletic gear, including sneakers? Is it a structural abnormality causing the pain?” All of these issues can be contributing factors in young athletes.

Dr. Minara adds, “Often, a keen eye of a podiatrist at The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine has diagnosed imperceptible musculoskeletal imbalances, which over time could have led to more serious issues. A foot and ankle evaluation and gait analysis plays an important role in preventing overuse injuries.”


If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports MedicineDr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.