The Importance of Physio When Treating Youth Gymnastic Injuries

Unfortunately, no matter how in-shape a gymnast is, overuse and traumatic injuries are fairly common. Since the large majority of gymnasts are younger in age, youth-related injuries can lead to growth issues. Our Perth Gymnastics physio not only helps injuries, but also prevents future complications.

If you or your children are currently gymnasts, it’s important to be aware of potential injuries and what that means for overall development. Perhaps an injury has already occurred, but is not healing as expected? Whatever the scenario, a professional physiotherapist will help diagnose the cause of any associated pain and discomfort – implementing an effective treatment plan.

As a Gymnast, What Injuries Are You At Risk For?

There’s no doubt that gymnasts are in great shape, however, that does not protect them against overstrain and trauma-related injuries. Based on the nature of gymnastics, a gymnast’s extremities are at a particularly high risk of injury. These unexpected incidents can lead to long-term complications.

Both wrist pain and strains are the most common injuries among gymnasts we treat and fix, due to overuse and impact. In some cases, this develops into elbow or shoulder injuries, including rotator cuff syndrome. If you have developed a shoulder injury, surgery is not your only option.

Within a review, published in the Journal of Athletic Training, it was stated that among athletes, rotator cuff and impingement injuries are not only common, but the majority of cases can be treated in a non-operative manner. This is critical, simply due to training-associated risk factors.

Based on a 2010 study, published in Physical Therapy in Sport, seventy-three acrobatic gymnasts, aged 8-26 years old were surveyed. What they found, was that 50.7 percent of the participants had experienced an injury in the past 12 months — with 28.8 percent experiencing a chronic injury at the time of the study.

The average age of onset for acute injury was 13.9 years old, whereas chronic injuries exhibited an average age onset of 14.7. The most common injury sites were the ankle, wrist, and knee. It was concluded that gymnasts between the ages of 11-15 years old, experience a high occurrence of injury, potentially due to the adolescent growth spurt – increasing vulnerability, due to excessive training.

Why Adolescent Gymnasts Need to Be Cautious

Although youth are full of energy and enthusiasm, it’s important to be aware of their current state of development. It’s clear that adolescent gymnasts are suffering from a range of injuries, but what does this mean for their overall well-being and growth? Based on a 2008 study, there are most certainly concerns.

After studying 125 gymnast patients, between the ages of 12 and 16, researchers found that physical stress may hinder development. In gymnastics, excessive amounts of stress are placed on joints, potentially causing long-term effects. It’s believed that damage to the radial growth plates, could result in distortion and deformity.

After reviewing all wrist and hand images, researchers were surprised to see the true magnitude of the injuries experienced by these adolescents. Injuries started in the radius – a bone in the forearm, but were also apparent within the wrist and finger bones. It’s concerning that these injuries could essentially develop into early osteoporosis.

How Our Perth Gymnastics Physio Can Help

If an injury has occurred, our gymnastics physio service in Perth will help determine whether or not an individual needs to modify their training loads. In some cases, individuals will experience minor, but persistent low back pain. It’s important that both parents and coaches are aware that these symptoms can often be treated, reducing the risk of future complications.

When ankle sprains occur, it’s critical that initial RICE is implemented – rest, ice, compression, elevation. As soon as possible, you should see a qualified physiotherapist. Physiotherapy techniques will help to speed up and optimise the healing process, while preventing recurring injuries.

From wrist injuries to knee pain, our gymnastics physio in Perth can help address a wide range of symptoms and concerns. More importantly, physiotherapy acts as a preventative measure. Our ‘Ultimate Gymnast Body Screening’ can help competitive gymnasts better understand their current physical state. By determining muscle imbalances, for instance, injuries that could be prevented through a specific exercise plan.

Remember, adolescents may appear to ‘bounce’ back, but some injuries can cause lifelong implications. Prevention is always better than treatment, so whether you have suffered an injury or not, speaking with one of our physiotherapists could make a world of difference.

If done right, gymnastics can have life long benefits!

To book the ‘Ultimate Gymnast Body Screening’ at our sports clinic next door to WA Gymnastics or one of our high performance hubs in North Perth or Mount Lawley, call us today on 92727359