Preventing Gymnastics Injuries in Children: 4 Training Tips
Parents might enroll their children in gymnastics for a number of reasons — to promote exercise, encourage balance, or instill self-discipline. Young athletes are more likely to establish and maintain healthy lifestyle habits, but they are also at greater risk of sustaining acute, traumatic, and even chronic injuries. Fortunately, there are several injury-prevention practices that are easy to incorporate early in a gymnast’s career.
Gymnastics Injuries in Children
Due to the sport’s use of both the upper and lower body, orthopaedic injuries are frequent in gymnastics. Results of either impact, accident, or overuse, the following are some of the most common among young participants:
- Wrist injuries
- Ankle and feet injuries
- Elbow injuries
- Knee injuries
Preventing Injuries in Young Athletes
Whether a child is just getting comfortable on the beam or fine-tuning their routine, the risk of accident is present regardless of how much skill is involved. Therefore, injury prevention must be integrated throughout their routine — from warmups to competitions. Here are four factors essential to protecting young athletes and preventing injuries.
Protective safety gear
Braces, pads, grips, and guards protect vulnerable parts of the body from the impact of gymnastics. Children should always wear the appropriate safety gear to reduce the risk of injuries and joint damage during practice and competition.
Stretching before practice promotes joint mobility and prepares the body for high-impact, high-intensity exercise. Dynamic stretches are optimal for warming up, as they raise body temperature and relieve stiffness — which reduce the chance of orthopaedic injury.
Children participating in any sport should practice and play under the constant supervision of a coach and have access to a spotter when learning or attempting new techniques. In addition, first aid and medical support must be made available at all practices and competitions.
A high training load can be overwhelming for children and young adults in gymnastics. In a number of cases, the best injury-prevention technique is proper recovery from an existing injury. Any young athlete experiencing pain or weakness should immediately be pulled from participation and evaluated.
Find a Healthy Balance
Whether your child participates competitively or just for fun, the staff at Orthopaedic Associates of St. Augustine is here to discuss any painful problems and deliver top-quality care. Starting with a thorough medical history evaluation and physical examination, our sports medicine specialists and orthopaedists will not only find the root cause of any discomfort or pain, but they’ll also recommend personalized treatment options to pursue. Schedule an appointment by filling out our online request form or calling 904-825-0540.