General Conditions

This section covers general medical conditions that do not fit into specific areas of the body.

Gastrointestinal Symptoms - Exercise

Gastrointestinal (stomach and intestine) problems during exercise (especially high-intensity exercise) are frequent. These may include heartburn, belching, abdominal cramps, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting and an urge to defecate.


Anemia (anaemia) is a condition related to the number of red blood cells or the hemoglobin (haemoglobin) concentrations in the blood. There are several types of anemia, although the most common is Iron deficiency anemia.

Heat Injuries

There are several forms of heat injury which are usually caused by exercise participation in extreme heat or a lack of fluid intake (dehydration).

Hyponatremia is also known as fluid overload. This occurs in hot climates when the athlete consumes too much plain water. 'Drink as much water as possible' is a common piece of bad advice given to athletes.

High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure (hypertension) is a medical condition which can be caused by a number of factors. Up to 30% of adults have high blood pressure, but many aren't aware of it.

High Cholesterol

Having 'high cholesterol' is a medical condition which does not have any symptoms but which puts you at higher risk of other conditions such as heart attacks and strokes.

Osteoporosis is a weakening of the bones, usually in later life and most commonly in women. This means the bones break more easily.


Hypothyroidism is also known as an underactive thyroid gland. The thyroid gland is found in the neck and produces the hormone thyroxine which controls how much energy your body is using.


Hyperthyroidism is also known as an overactive thyroid ( or sometimes thyrotoxicosis). The thyroid gland is found in the neck and is responsible for the production of the chemical Thyroxine which controls energy levels.

Overtraining is excessive high-intensity training and diminished rest periods which may result in feelings of constant tiredness, reduced performance, neural and hormonal changes, mood swings and frequently poor health.

Palpitations are feelings of an irregular heartbeat. They are often described as 'pounding' 'racing' or 'fluttering' and are very common. Palpitations may be a symptom of a cardiovascular condition, although are more commonly completely harmless and not linked to any underlying condition.

A sprain is an injury to one or more ligaments. Ligaments are found at joints and connect two bones together.

Joint pain can be due to any number of causes, from injuries to medical conditions. Generally, joint pain is a dull pain which cannot be pinpointed to a specific area. Joint pain is most common in the hips and knees. Pain which is localised to one joint is usually a specific condition or injury at the joint in question. Multiple joint pain should be investigated for more systemic (whole body) conditions.

Stress Fractures

A stress fracture is an incomplete fracture of a bone, sometimes also known as a hairline fracture or a fatigue fracture. They are very thin cracks in the bone and can occur in the Tibia (shin), Metatarsals, Navicular, Calcaneus, Talus, Femur, and the Ribs.


A stroke is a serious medical condition caused by a lack of blood flow to part of the brain. This is usually due to a blood clot preventing the blood from reaching the whole brain.


There are basically two ways of injuring a tendon. Either in an acute, traumatic incident where the tendon tears, either partially or fully (e.g. Achilles tendon rupture). Or via an overuse injury which gradually develops over time. This is often referred to as Tendonitis.

Guillain-Barre Syndrome is a nervous system disorder where the bodies immune system attacks the peripheral (ones outside of the brain and spinal cord) nerves. The attack on the nervous system results in inflammation and damage of the nerves.


A fracture is a break in a bone. There are many different types of fracture and contrary to popular belief, there is no difference between a 'break' and a 'fracture'.

Chronic Fatigue

A certain degree of fatigue is normal in an athlete training hard for their sport or event. However, excessive and persistent fatigue and feelings of legarthy with a reduced sporting performance, often indicate a more serious problem.

Tumours of bone and soft tissue are rare but can affect younger athletes in their 20's and 30's. Here are some of the more common forms.


A contusion occurs in a muscle when there has been a direct impact. The most common site for a contusion is a quadriceps muscle contusion, which is sometimes then referred to as a 'charley horse' or a 'dead leg'. 

Coronary Heart Disease

Coronary Heart Disease (CHD - also known as Coronary Artery Disease) is a narrowing of the small blood vessels which supply blood to the heart itself. It is the most common cause of exercise-related death in those over the age of 35. It is also an occasional cause of sudden cardiac death in younger individuals.


A strain is a muscular injury, which shouldn't be confused with a 'sprain', which is a ligament injury. Strains are tears to the muscle, which can vary in severity, from very minor, to a complete rupture.


The term arthritis can be applied to over two hundred separate conditions. The two most common forms are:

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Osteoarthritis

Asthma is an inflammatory disorder of the airways which causes shortness of breath and 'wheezing'. Its severity can range from mild, with only occasional symptoms, to a severe and life-threatening condition.

Depression is an illness which results in feelings of extreme sadness that interfere with your daily life. Often the terms clinical depression and depressive illness are also used to describe depression.

Chest Pain In Athletes

Chest pain in athletes may be caused by a wide range of conditions including muscular pain and pain referred from the thoracic spine. Whilst cardiac causes may not be suspected in young, healthy athletes, they should always be considered.


Epilepsy is a neurological condition which affects the brain. Its most dominant and well-known feature is the seizure (convulsions, or fit).


Bursae are small sacks of fluid which lie between a tendon or muscle and the underlying bone. Their purpose is to reduce friction between the two. There are approximately 160 bursae in the body. 


Diabetes (also called diabetes mellitus) is a relatively common condition which affects the levels of sugar in the blood. Up to 2.6 million people in the UK have diabetes, with half a million estimated to be unaware of their condition.


Dehydration is an 'excessive loss of water from the body'. This can happen for numerous reasons, such as illness (through vomiting and diarrhea), diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, excessive sweating, and failure to take on a sufficient volume of fluid to replace that which is lost.

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a hotly debated condition, to the extent that some medical professionals debate its very existence. CFS has previously been known as Neurasthenia and Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME).

Viral illnesses are usually simply referred to as a virus or viral infection. They occur when a microscopic infectious agent enters the body. Here the virus attacks the body, causing an immune response and illness.

Kidney Stones

Kidney stones are small hard lumps which develop within the kidneys. They can develop from the waste products which are filtered through the kidneys forming crystalised masses.

The word 'neuro' relates to our nerves. There are lots of terms out there which all refer to some form of nerve injury, damage or pain. This page will help to clear up the differences for you!

When the body has injured a sequence of events is initiated that leads to the eventual repair of the injury site. The first stage in this process is inflammation which is followed by tissue healing and repair.

Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease is an inherited condition which affects the peripheral nervous system (the nerves outside of the brain and spinal column). It can affect both the motor nerves (those that supply muscles and cause movement) and the sensory nerves (those that sense pain, temperature, and pressure etc).

DOMS or delayed onset muscle soreness is a particular type of muscle soreness that sets in hours after exercise. The exercise is usually very hard or far more than the athlete would normally be accustomed to.

Fibromyalgia is a widespread muscular pain and fatigue condition. Pain and tenderness are felt throughout the body, not just in one specific muscle or area.