Have you had those annoying niggles that don’t go away?
What causes them?
What can we do to help prevent them?
Injuries happen from stress to your muscles, tendon and ligaments. This stress is caused by predisposing factors and triggers.
A predisposing factor can include:
- Body biomechanics (our movement patterns)
- Body alignment
- Muscular strength (too weak) and length (too tight)
Add to that a trigger such increased training (time, load or frequency), a different type of training, an illness or an operation… you can see how it’s very easy for that annoying niggle to start.
We all have asymmetry in our bodies, this is completely normal. We all talk about balance and getting our bodies balanced. However, unless you’re ambidextrous, we all use different sides and parts of our bodies in different ways and this may never cause a problem for people. Sometimes, this imbalance may become too great or you may have an underlying condition that requires more attention and maintenance treatment.
Either way, if you’re feeling pain then something needs to be addressed and corrected.
The causes of niggles:
Our bodies are amazing and our various systems throughout the body are constantly working very hard, most of which we are oblivious too.
When we exercise and move, we stress our tissues causing damage. We then need to rest to allow our muscle fibres, tendons and ligaments to repair and become stronger. If we cause too much damage in one go – or allow too little time for that recovery process – then niggles start.
Too much rest can also cause niggles… enjoy 1-2 rest days a week. This is when you actually become stronger. You’ve worked hard so enjoy a well-deserved rest! If you’ve done something new or trained more, movement the next day may be a little difficult. Think of going for a walk, (something gentle), maybe working a different area of your body, or consider this as the perfect day to stretch out and foam roll – think “rehab day”. (See our blog about the benefits of foam rolling.)
Tips to prevent injury:
1) Increase activity by 10% a week. If you are a runner keep your weekly runs the same distance, but increase your weekend run by 10% each week. With weights increase only as your technique allows. Too much weight too quickly will allow your technique to deteriorate and cause too much damage to tissues.
2) New equipment. Shoes, racket, bike… will all need time for your body to adjust. Mix it up initially with your old and new equipment but don’t increase training load or time during this transition.
3) If you’ve been ill or injured for a week or two then reduce your training initially, don’t jump straight back in and risk needing another week off because of doing too much too soon. You can build back up again very quickly just give your body the chance to catch up.
4) Rest days – remember we recommend 1–2 rest days per week.
5) Change only one variable of your training each week. Time, distance, speed, weight… once you’ve mastered one then you can begin to challenge another aspect.
The most important thing is to love your body:
- Move because you can
- Rest to get stronger
- Fuel your body with the foods it loves and needs
Plus – try some Sports Therapy when you need a bit more help along the way. You’ll feel the difference!
This summary was produced by Laura Webb our Sports Therapist at Shefford Osteopathic Clinic.