Research Shows Acute & Overuse Injury Prevention Is Possible


A recent study has demonstrated contrasting results regarding prevention of sports injuries with exercise interventions. The research analysed instances of strength training, stretching, proprioception and combinations of these. The study was designed to determine if physical activity exercises can prevent sports injury. 

The study involved the authors selecting a sample from 3462 database results containing relevant controlled trials. In these trials the above preventative measures were investigated. Quality assurance was implemented to select twenty relevant reviews of injury prevention techniques. Twelve studies were excluded from the data sample for failing to apply necessary scientific rigour.

There is abundant evidence that physical exercise prevents conditions like cardio vascular disease, diabetes, cancer, hypertension, obesity and depression. However, the amount of exercise undertaken by the Australian public is still worrying. Sports injuries are the only drawback to exercise. 

Injuries can result from a range of extrinsic and intrinsic factors. These can include equipment, training errors and impacts on muscles and tendons. Regardless, sports injury prevention is available to essentially everyone and requires minimal medical staff assistance.

The study anchored previous research looking at efficacy of exercise interventions in overuse and acute injury prevention. A variety of sports injuries and preventative sports medicine techniques were studied. Definitions of sports injury and prevention concepts were taken from previous studies. These included:

  • Extrinsic factors: exposures, environment, equipment
  • Intrinsic factors: physical characteristics, fitness, ability, age, gender, psychology
  • The sequence of injury prevention exercise interventions


25 trials including 26,610 patients were closely examined. The data revealed that the overall effect of exercise prevention on injury was very diverse. Stretching played little to no impact on injury prevention regardless of how much stretching was completed. 

Proprioception and strength exercises were, contrastingly, shown to have a positive effect on preventing sports injuries. Both acute injuries and overuse injuries could be prevented with sufficient pre exercise interventions. Strength training reduces acute injuries to almost a third and overuse injuries by more than half.

The effects of stretching as determined by this study correlated with previous data. Stretching was shown to have no impact on reducing an increased risk of injury either before or after exercise.

Strength training was shown to be more effective than proprioception training. Strength training alone was shown to be the most effective method of injury prevention. Strength training is even more effective than strength training done in combination with other training. The reason for this may be explained by less instances of strength training being undertaken when other training was completed.

Both acute and overuse injuries were successfully prevented by exercise interventions, but exercise interventions tended to prevent overuse injuries better overall.

If you’re interested in refining your proprioception and strength training technique, call us to book an appointment. Our friendly team of physios at Erko Physio are always happy to take calls from any young athletes or otherwise. We can help you prevent acute and overuse injuries occurring while playing sports.

We are open late Monday to Friday. Call us on 02 9557 9272 to arrange a session with one of our trained and licensed physio professionals. Relay your ambitions to improve your technique when you call and we’ll pair you with the right person for you.