Dr. Robert Dimeff -- director of primary care sports medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and Children's Medical Center in Dallas -- said overuse injuries can result from improper form; pushing too hard after an injury to return to pre-injury levels; imbalances between strength and flexibility; as well as old injuries, poor body alignment, unfit sports equipment, including shoes, or difficult terrain.
"With so many potential pitfalls, it can be difficult to know when to step it up to the next level," Dimeff said in a statement.
Among the common signs of overuse are recurrent stiffness or pain, often in the shoulders, legs or elbows; favoring one arm or leg over the other; or a drop in performance.
Initially symptoms occur only during activity, but as the condition progresses, the pain will worsen after exercise and eventually interfere with your ability to exercise, Dimeff said.
"A generally recognized rule of thumb for increasing the exercise regimes is called the 10 percent rule: Don't increase your training or activities more than 10 percent per week. Runners and walkers, for example, shouldn't increase the distance or pace more than 10 percent. If you're using weights, limit the increased weight to 10 percent or less," Dimeff said. "It's important to give your body time to properly adjust."