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What are Gymnastics Injuries?

Gymnastics is a popular and challenging group of sports that are performed by people of all ages, though younger individuals are more commonly involved in gymnastics. The incidence of injury during the practice of gymnastics is relatively high. The increasing incidence of injury is determined by the complexity of routines, velocity, heights, and skill levels.

The injuries are frequently located in the elbows, hands, and wrists. Most often, gymnastics injuries are often due to overuse stress. These type of injuries are not severe, but they must be treated because they can lead to the development of chronic pain, bone growth disturbance,  ligament injury, and fractures.

Types of Gymnastics Injuries

The types of gymnastics injuries can be classified as acute, traumatic, chronic, or overuse injuries.

Overuse injuries are the result of a continuous and repetitive movement, usually from turning on one side more than the other, generating muscle imbalances. Inadequate conditioning, rest and technique are contributors.

Many gymnasts are very young and, therefore, their bones are still growing. This element needs to be considered in acute injuries because the growth plates can be damaged. Without proper prevention and, following an injury, treatment, the bone can stop growing and lead to abnormal development in the individual.

Characteristics and Clinical Presentation of Gymnastics Injuries

The upper body is mainly used as a weight-bearing joint in gymnastics. The consequence of this characteristic distribution of the strength is a high incidence of elbow, hand, and wrist injuries.

Wrist sprains often require rest and modification to their form to relieve symptoms and allow the injured tissues to heal. Common symptoms may include pain, difficult movement of the wrist, swollen wrist, and weakness.

Causes of Gymnastics Injuries

There are different causes of gymnastics injuries. Some gymnasts may have insufficient flexibility, decreased strength in the arms, legs, or core, poor balance, and imbalances in strength or flexibility. Also, some abnormal and extreme movements can lead to the development of injuries. Most commonly, the incidence of each type of injury is going to be determined by the type of exercises performed by the athlete, as well as conditioning, experience, and ability. Any competitor may suffer a fall.

During the practice of this sport, the wrist is subjected to forces that can exceed twice the body weight. As a result, the athlete can develop wrist injuries like strains, growth plate injuries, ligament tears, and fractures.

Minor injuries typically have tenderness and swelling limited to a small region. Serious injuries require an exhaustive evaluation by a qualified professional to try and help the gymnast heal and return to their sport in the shortest time frame.

Treatment Options

Initial management of a gymnastics injury will depend on the type of injury. In cases of acute injury, the treatment should be to apply R.I.C.E method defined as rest, ice, compression, and elevation the affected area above the heart if practical.

Sometimes, surgical intervention may be required in cases where a gymnast has a partial or complete rupture of tendons or ligaments or a broken misaligned bone.

Overuse injuries can be treated conservatively but, usually, these injuries still require medical management involving physiotherapy and cause analysis.

Preventing Gymnastics Injuries

The prevention of gymnastic injuries is the main objective during the practice of this sport. Getting adequate strength training, warming up and development of strong core muscles can provide gymnasts with a stable base for the arms and legs.

Most gymnastics injuries can be prevented by following proper training guidelines and using safety equipment and spotters. It is very important to consider preventative measures, such as wearing required safety gear that includes wrist wraps, hand grips, powder, or elbow braces.

If You Believe You Have a Gymnastics Injury, Contact HandSport Surgery Institute

Please contact us as soon as possible to schedule an appointment with our talented team. People who have been hurt while playing gymnastics should be evaluated to try and prevent further injury and mobility issues.

If you have been injured, it’s important to be evaluated by a highly skilled professional. Call Drs. Mark and Jason Pruzansky at 212-249-8700 to schedule an appointment and obtain an accurate diagnosis.

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