Gymnastics Injuries - At the CORE of the Matter

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Recently, we at HealthFit put together a FREE EBOOK... The 3 Top Gymnastics Injuries... Plus Tips to Prevent So You Can Enhance Your Athletic Potential.

It seemed appropriate that this week’s blog post follow suit and take a closer look at a gymnastics injury case. I thought we could take a closer look at how Physical Therapy/Athletic Training could help and loosely explain the evaluation and treatment (each patient goes through an individualized process).

Case Study: A 13 year-old female gymnast complaining of low back and shoulder pain for 3 months. She began gymnastics participation at age 5 and has competed with her team since then. She notes no specific instance when her back and shoulder pain started “it just happened over time.”

“it just happened over time.”

Gymnastics is a demanding sport physically and mentally. If this 13 year-old female walked into my office, I would make sure to understand exactly when she has pain during gymnastics and the type of pain. It is also important to know her mastered skills and skills she’s acquiring and most importantly what her ultimate goal is.

Once I have all the information needed we would take a closer look at how this gymnast moves functionally. Ultimately, looking for the route of the movement dysfunction and not just treating her pain until that pain disappears (because it will inevitably come back if we don’t find the cause!)

As a whole, gymnasts are very flexible but many lack overall stability. We NEED stability and that is the CORE of the matter! Without stability our bodies will find compensations by using muscles not meant for stability or find the amount of motion demanded by the sport in dysfunctional movement patterns.

For our hypothetical gymnast, if she doesn’t have stability she will likely have compensations into her low back to achieve extension as well as compensations by her shoulder to achieve the motion the sport is demanding. As physical therapists we would find where those compensations have occurred and create a specific program to be integrated into her current program.

Click to download!

Click to download!

There are of course other areas that would need to be addressed including mobility and overall strength but we cannot build strength on a base that is unstable or immobile because eventually it will break down.

However, by working together we can get this gymnast back to the sport she loves and pain free!

Please feel free to download the eBook pictured.

I’m passionate about finding solutions for patients that work so if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly!

Dr. Mary Claire Malooly, DPT, ATC