How Does an Injury Begin?


often tell my clients, “Every injury has a first day.” To some extent, the foundation for any injury was laid in infancy (for instance, if you’re born with flat-feet or excessive spine curvature or externally rotated hips). Whether or not you remember a certain movement or event that resulted in injury, at some point, your body was exposed to loading forces that exceeded its capacity or tolerance level. It's a law of biomechanics: When a body is pushed beyond its inherent limits, an "infraction" occurs, and the structures and tissues become irritated. The result? An increased risk for muscle or tissue degeneration, tears or ruptures. 

What Causes Excessive Loading?

Excessive loading can be triggered in several ways:

  • Combining low intensity (light weight) movement with high volume (many repetitions). Example: Computer programming.
  • Pairing low volume (few repetitions) exercise with high intensity (heavy weight). Example: Power lifting.
  • Moderate volume and moderate intensity activities. Example: Running.

​​In most cases, these pain/injury scenarios are a part of an on-going process. As your body is repeatedly exposed to excessive loading, more and more infractions accumulate. Muscle or tissue degeneration develops, and injuries such as ruptures or ruptures occur. 

There's Something In the Way We Move

The risk of excessive loading is further complicated and increased by dysfunctional

movement patterns (simply put: bad form). We perform all of our activities using combinations and variations of fundamental movement patterns. The fundamental patterns are squat, reach, twist, bend, lunge, push, pull, throw, run, walk and jump. The quality of those movement patterns is influenced by anatomical structure, posture, coordination, timing, reactivity, spatial awareness,
flexibility and strength. Deficits in any of these factors can result in poorly executed movement patterns. When we deviate from the ideal form, our risk of injury increases. 

Correcting the Problem(s)

Intervention is needed to resolve dysfunctional movement patterns, and in my experience, the earlier, the better. When I work with a client of any age to improve technique, I offer instruction to establish a solid foundation of good form applicable to all the basic movement patterns. Some of my key areas of assessment and training include:

  • Flexibility training to maximize range of motion 
  • Corrective exercises for optimal muscle balance
  •  Manual therapy to quickly break down adhesions and restore normal movement 

This approach, combined with a commitment to practicing the necessary techniques or exercises, greatly increases a recreational or competitive athlete’s chances of having a successful, injury-free experience, both today and in the future. 

Find out more pertaining to the origins of injuries in young athletes:

Case study: A Young Gymnast with Back Pain

Case study: A Volleyball Player at Risk for Knee Injury

Case study: Flat Arches Make Knee Pain Likely

Case study: Steer Clear of Potential ACL Tear