How Gymnasts Can Avoid Knee Injury

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How Gymnasts Can Avoid Knee Injury

The knee is especially vulnerable in gymnasts because it’s the body’s shock absorber. Certain landings can cause microtrauma in the ligaments and tendons. Here are some common gymnast injuries and how you can avoid them.

 

Common Injuries:

 

Runner’s Knee

This is a generalized way to say pain around the kneecap. See our early November blog to learn more about this injury.

 

Sinding-Larsen-Johansson Syndrome

This condition only impacts growing youth, which means as a young gymnast, your child is at greater risk of developing this. During periods of rapid growth, the tendon can attach to the growth plate at the base of the kneecap. Repetitive stress is the cause of this syndrome.

 

Patellar Subluxation or Dislocation

This is when the kneecap is dislocated from the thigh bone. It is a temporary issue, but can be extremely painful.

 

ACL Injury

You have likely heard or know someone with an ACL injury. It is one of the most common major knee injuries we see. The full name of this is anterior cruciate ligament injury. The ACL connects your thigh bone to the shin bone. When this tears, you are able to hear a “pop.” It is very painful and it will likely not be possible to bear weight on it until it is healed.

 

Osgood-Schlatter Disease

This is a knee pain that occurs in growing teens. It is inflammation at the bottom of the knee where the patellar tendon attaches to the kneebone.

 

How to Avoid Them:

 

Warm Up

It is very important to not work cold muscles. They are less prone to injury when they are warmed up. Light cardio and gentle stretching will help to awaken the muscles to whatever challenge is ahead! Remember, you are waking them up, so it is important to gradually warm up your body.

 

Strength Training

The major muscles that gymnasts use are the core and leg muscles. It is important to make sure that these are strong in order to protect the knees. Strengthening can also help with balance and control. Needless to say, balance is an important trait of a gymnast, but it can also help from improper steps that cause injury.

 

Proper Technique

Proper technique is not possible if moves are made too quickly. This is especially true when learning any new moves or skills. A gymnast should learn every move slowly until they have it mastered. Their coach should be working with them to ensure their posture and positions are correct.

 

Cool Down

Cooling down can be just as important as warming up! When you are finished with an exhausting workout, it can be tempting to just call it quits and head home. However, it is important to stretch the muscles at the end of each session. This will help to reinforce flexibility and prevent injury.

 

Don’t Overdo It

Knee injuries are mostly caused by excessive stress and overexertion. For this reason, athletes should limit themselves to one team a season. Additionally, being heavily involved in one sport year-round may be too much. Consider taking a season off to relax and rest the body.

 

Core PT is here to help you return to your active life. See how our Lower Body Pain Management System can help you address your gymnastic injury.

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