What Are Repetitive Stress Injuries? Repetitive stress injuries (RSIs) happen when movements are repeated over and over, causing damage to a bone, tendon, or joint. What Causes Repetitive Stress Injuries in Sports? Repeated motions in sports cause many RSIs (or overuse injuries). RSIs are most likely to happen in the area of growth plates. A growth plate is a layer of cartilage near the end of a bone where most of the bone's growth happens. It is weaker and more at risk for injury than the rest of the bone. Who Gets Repetitive Stress Injuries? Anyone can get an RSI from sports. But they're more likely to happen if someone: trains too much or doesn't train properly has weakness from an old injury Common RSIs that happen in young athletes include: stress fractures swimmer's shoulder pitching elbow runner's knee jumper's knee Achilles tendonitis Osgood-Schlatter disease shin splints Sever's disease What Are the Signs & Symptoms of Repetitive Stress Injuries? Signs and symptoms of RSIs include: pain swelling redness stiffness weakness How Are Repetitive Stress Injuries Diagnosed? To diagnose RSIs, health care providers ask about symptoms and physical activities and do an exam. If needed, an imaging study such as an X-ray, MRI, or bone scan may be done. How Are Repetitive Stress Injuries Treated? Slowing down now can help you get back to sports as soon as possible. Health care providers usually recommend some or all of the following for an RSI: Rest: You may need to either cut down or completely stop activities until the RSI heals. Change in training: If allowed to train, you may need to do less intense training, train for shorter times, or train less often. Cold: To help with swelling and irritation, apply an ice or a cold pack to the sore area every 1–2 hours, for 15 minutes at a time. (Put a thin towel over the skin to protect it from the cold.) Medicine: Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, or store brand) can help with pain and swelling. Follow the directions that come with the medicine for how much to take and how often. Physical therapy: PT helps keep muscles and joints strong and flexible. Elastic bandage or splint: Wearing one of these can support the sore area and help ease swelling. Looking Ahead Sports are a great way to learn new skills, work with peers and coaches, challenge yourself, and stay in shape. But it's important to enjoy them safely. To help you avoid repetitive stress injuries: Limit the number of teams you play on per season. Play different sports throughout the year. Make sure that your coaches encourage safe training. Back to Articles Related Articles Dealing With Sports Injuries You practiced hard and made sure you wore protective gear, but you still got hurt. Read this article to find out how to take care of sports injuries - and how to avoid getting them. Read More Sever's Disease Sever's disease, a common heel injury, is due to inflammation (swelling) of the growth plate in the heel. While painful, it's only temporary and has no long-term effects. Read More Jumper's Knee Jumper's knee is an overuse injury that happens when frequent jumping, running, and changing direction damages the patellar tendon. Read More Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (Runner's Knee) Patellofemoral pain syndrome (or runner's knee) is the most common overuse injury among runners, but it can also happen to other athletes who do activities that require a lot of knee bending. Read More Shin Splints Shin splints are pain on the inner part of the shinbone, often from running or another high-impact activity. They get better with rest. Read More Achilles Tendonitis If the tendon just above your heel becomes swollen or irritated due to overuse, it can lead to a painful condition called Achilles tendonitis. Find out how to treat it - and prevent it. Read More Osgood-Schlatter Disease Osgood-Schlatter disease (OSD) is an overuse injury that can cause knee pain in teens, especially during growth spurts. Learn more. Read More Proximal Biceps Tendonitis In teens, biceps tendonitis is usually an overuse injury that causes tendons in the upper arm to be swollen or irritated. Most cases heal on their own if you follow a few guidelines from your doctor. Read More Bursitis Bursitis, an irritation of the small fluid sacs that provide cushioning in some joints, is often caused by sports-related injuries or repeated use of a particular joint. Read More Sinding-Larsen-Johansson Syndrome This growth-related injury is more common in teens who play sports that require a lot of running or jumping. Find out why it happens - and what you can do to avoid and treat it. Read More 5 Ways to Prepare for Your Sports Season How can you get ready to play your best season ever? Read these tips for teen athletes. Read More Safety Tips: Baseball Baseball is by no means a dangerous sport. But it can present a very real risk of injuries from things like wild pitches, batted balls, and collisions in the field. Read More Safety Tips: Basketball It's fun to play and great exercise, but basketball is also a contact sport, and injuries happen. To stay safe on the basketball court, follow these safety tips. Read More Safety Tips: Volleyball Following these tips can help protect you from injuries while playing volleyball. Read More Safety Tips: Golf While it may seem silly to think of golf and danger in the same sentence, injuries can and do happen. To learn how to stay safe on the golf course, take a look at these safety tips. Read More Safety Tips: Tennis Injuries in tennis are rare, but it's good to be aware before you play. To minimize your risk of injury while playing tennis, follow these safety tips. Read More Knee Injuries Healthy knees are needed for many activities and sports and getting hurt can mean some time sitting on the sidelines. Read More Note: All information is for educational purposes only. 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