Overuse Injuries That Should Be Red Flags For Athletes

Keeping an Eye on Body Mechanics

When it comes to red flags, over use injuries, and predicting the potential for injury: poor body alignment tops the list. Common alignment problems comprise: Number 1: More than 10% unilateral discrepancy in mobility and strength from body part to body part. Number 2: Excessive knee valgus while squatting, landing, or jumping. And Number 3: Being unable to flex from the hips whilst standing and trying to touch the ankles. (Poor body mechanics are indicated due to back rounding).


Carry out three different tasks, with each one lasting 60 seconds. “Do as many push-ups as possible, as many 2 footed jumps as possible, and touch your toes while standing. Look for symmetry through fatigue during the push-ups, knee valgus during the jumps, and depth of reach; plus curvature of the spine during the toe touch. Fatigue during these tests is just fine, but mechanical compensation indicates a red flag and likelihood for future injury” [1]

So What Exactly is Knee Valgus?

Knee valgus is characterized by hip adduction & hip internal rotation in a flexed hip position [2]

Knee vagus is medial knee collapse. – That is to say, when the knee falls inwards, or collapses when you are in the middle of doing a squat or other kind of weight-bearing activity, during gait, or during cutting, or other specific sports movements [2].


An athlete’s body breaks down whenever they are fatigued. – Reaction diminishes, flexibility and strength decrease, and their cognitive mindfulness can plummet as much as 80%. As a red flag, the mental fatigue of an athlete should be given more attention than their physical fatigue. Further: “if an athlete doesn’t possess the mental fortitude to find their ‘second and third wind,’ or to ‘dig deep’, they are much more at risk than they would be with strong motivation” [1].

Getting Sufficient Sleep

“Most of the body’s healing processes occur at night & without regular sleep, athletes will be missing out on this essential process” [1]

Sport can often put too much stress on the system, and this can make recovery difficult. To that end, athletes should have regular sleep assessments, so that both they and their trainers have a good picture of the degree to which their physical body is recovering. Red flags to watch out for over- stress, include: Number 1: Not being able to focus. Number 2: Chronic muscle soreness. And Number 3: Lower objective performance, regardless of greater training rigour.


[1]. Johns, A. (2021). “Red Flags that Your Athletes are at Risk for Injury.” Ortho Vaginia.

[2]. Lau, M. (2020). “How to Prevent Knee Valgus.” Prehab.