Injury Prevention For Gymnasts
April 29, 2021 1:42 pm / Category: Physical Therapy
There have been various practices, games, and competitions canceled or postponed due to the pandemic. Now, it has been delightful to see indoor and outdoor activities resume again. With sporting events starting up after a long hiatus, athletes can return more of a regular practice schedule in anticipation of games and competitions. However, with modified practices and the beginning of the season for many different sports, injuries are starting to occur. Jumping back into the full swing of things can be hard on the body, especially if athletes are not used to the regular grind after taking a long break. Since I have a passion for gymnastics, I want to talk about injury prevention for gymnasts and some ideas to avoid injury after taking some time off.
There is a high rate of injury in artistic gymnastics. This is partly due to the training time per week and the skills gymnasts perform, particularly the more advanced skills and the high impact nature of the sport. Gymnastics is very demanding on the body, and knowing some tips and tricks for injury prevention is extremely important. Many of the injuries can occur due to overuse. Being proactive about applying prevention into training regimes is crucial.
Correcting potential problems early on is critical, especially during puberty. Between the ages of 11 and 14, increased rates of growth occur. That can lead to open growth plates, which can be problematic because of the body’s reduced ability to accept high loads and stress to the areas. Understanding when taking a break or taking a step back if the pain starts to occur in that age range can prevent injury down the road. Improving proprioception is another crucial aspect of preventing injuries. Proprioception is the body’s ability to know where it is in space. In gymnastics, many skills involve a blind landing or the ability to understand where you are during a flipping. Practicing those skills into a pit or practicing parts of a skill multiple times can improve that muscle memory. Baseline cardio level, especially after a long break, is also necessary to support the routine and its demands. If you are not able to perform a routine or several skills in a row without the cardio to back you up, you are more likely to see an injury. Recovery is also an essential element. Taking care of your body outside the gym as sleeping enough, staying hydrated, and fueling your body with proper and sufficient nutrition will help prevent injury.
Don’t be afraid of going back to the basics to work on specific techniques. That can be a critical element if a lot of time has passed since being in the gym. There is nothing wrong with returning to the basics and mastering more technical aspects of a skill. It will help in the long run and prevent potential injury down the road when you are putting skills together in a routine in preparation for the season. Also, speaking up about an injury or constant pain is crucial. Taking it easy for a few weeks, if necessary, will be beneficial in the long run.
With gyms having modified hours or being closed due to COVID, take time to get back into the full swing of things again and prepare well for practices and routines. Pay attention to your body and slow down if you start feeling pain. Taking the time now to prevent further injury will lead to a more successful season.
If you want a personalized exercise plan to help you prevent injuries and organize your way back to exercising safely, talk to a physical therapist. Give us a call for a complimentary consultation. We would love to meet you. Did you know there’s no prescription from a doctor needed to see us? Call us! (949) 276-5401.
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