The human body is an amazing machine—it can do incredible things. But too often, athletes push themselves beyond their limits, leading to overuse injuries that can lead to long-term pain and even permanent damage. Orthopaedic specialist, Dr. Brad Larson, specializes in sports medicine, and he’s here to share his experience on the most common types of overuse injuries in athletes: tendinitis, bursitis, and stress fractures.

What is an overuse injury?

An overuse injury is caused by repetitive motions or stress on a certain area of the body. This can happen when an athlete doesn’t give their body enough time to recover between training sessions, or if they’re doing an activity that’s too intense for their level of fitness.

What are the most common overuse injuries in athletes?

There are three main types of overuse injuries: tendinitis, bursitis, and stress fractures.


Tendinitis is inflammation of a tendon, the tissue that connects muscle to bone. It’s often caused by repetitive motions that put stress on the tendon. The elbow, shoulder, and wrist are common sites of tendinitis in athletes. symptoms include pain, swelling, and tenderness.


Bursitis is inflammation of a bursa, a small sac of fluid that cushions the bones, muscles, and tendons around a joint. It’s often caused by repetitive motions that put pressure on the bursa. Bursitis is common in the shoulder, hip, and elbow. Symptoms include pain, swelling, and tenderness.

Stress Fractures

Stress fractures are tiny cracks in bones that occur from repetitive stress or impact. They’re common in weight-bearing bones like the shin, foot, and lower leg. symptoms include pain (usually worse with activity), swelling, and tenderness. If you suspect you have a stress fracture, it’s important to see a doctor because these injuries can worsen with continued activity and may require rest or surgery to heal properly.

When you suffer an injury, it’s important to choose a medical professional who can help you get back on track quickly and safely. For sports injuries, an orthopaedic specialist who specializes in sports medicine is your best bet. Here’s why.

Experience and Expertise

An orthopaedic specialist who specializes in sports medicine has the experience and expertise required to provide a comprehensive plan of treatment specific to your type of injury. They understand how sport-specific activities affect the body, so they can tailor their approach to help you heal more efficiently and get back in the game as soon as possible.

Prevention Mindset

A specialist also has a prevention mindset—they understand that keeping athletes off the sidelines is just as important as getting them back into action once they’re injured. As part of their treatment plan, an orthopaedic specialist who specializes in sports medicine will offer guidance on how to prevent future injuries from occurring, including advice on stretching, nutrition, and conditioning routines that can help reduce injury risk.


Specialists have easy access to specialized treatments like physical therapy and custom orthotic devices that are designed specifically for athletes’ needs. Plus, they’re well connected with other professionals—both inside and outside of traditional healthcare settings—that specialize in treating sports-related injuries, which can mean faster access to treatments like regenerative medicine or other cutting-edge therapies.

Looking to schedule an appointment with Dr. Larson? Just click here.