When little aches and pains, also known as niggles, turn into serious injuries it can be a real problem for athletes. In our latest blog, Randall Cooper asks Matt Whalan, physiotherapist, applied research and sport scientist, on what are his top tips are for how people can stop niggles turning into serious injuries.

It’s ok to report Niggles

It’s really important that we work hard on creating a culture where players and athletes are comfortable to report niggles. We know that they are potentially a really good way to flag if someone is at high risk of something more.

There’s a lot of work that goes into creating that system, and it’s important, particularly as clinicians, that we have an action plan for when someone reports that doesn’t automatically just involve sitting them out of training or playing.

Levi Heuwert

Concept of risk

It’s important to look at the concept of risk, we can’t just use the niggle as a predictive model. We can’t just say because you have a niggle you’ll definitely get injured, we also want to identify why the niggles occured. Has it come from a lack of training or is it we’ve overloaded somebody, it’s an important distinction to make.

What does the niggle mean

It’s important to make sure that coaches understand what the niggle actually means. The location of the niggle may impact on the capacity of someone to train, for example a hamstring niggle may be treated differently to a lower back niggle. So encouraging stakeholders, such as coaches, athletes and parents to be onboard with that is a really important step.

Journal Club: Do Wiggles Matter

Check out the full podcast in the latest episode of The Journal Club with Randall Cooper at these links



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