Overuse injuries: tendinopathies, stress fractures, compartment syndrome, and shin splints

Clin Sports Med. 2004 Jan;23(1):55-81, vi. doi: 10.1016/S0278-5919(03)00085-1.


Approximately 50% of all sports injuries are secondary to overuse and result from repetitive microtrauma that causes local tissue damage. Injuries are most likely with changes in mode, intensity, or duration of training and can accumulate before symptoms appear. Intrinsic factors contributing to injuries are individual bio-mechanical abnormalities such as malalignments, muscle imbalance, inflexibility, weakness, and instability. Contributing extrinsic (avoidable) factors include poor technique, improper equipment, and improper changes in duration or frequency of activity. Injuries are often related to biomechanical abnormalities removed from the specific injury site, requiring evaluation of the entire kinetic chain. This article discusses common overuse injuries of the lower leg, ankle, and foot: tendinopathies, stress fractures, chronic exertional compartment syndrome, and shin splints.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Achilles Tendon / injuries
  • Athletic Injuries* / physiopathology
  • Athletic Injuries* / therapy
  • Compartment Syndromes* / diagnosis
  • Compartment Syndromes* / therapy
  • Cumulative Trauma Disorders* / physiopathology
  • Cumulative Trauma Disorders* / therapy
  • Fractures, Stress* / diagnosis
  • Fractures, Stress* / therapy
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction / diagnosis
  • Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction / therapy
  • Rupture
  • Tendinopathy / etiology
  • Tendinopathy / physiopathology
  • Tendinopathy / therapy
  • Tendon Injuries