Foot injuries can occur when playing sports but a shoe or cleat can often protect the foot from injury. Some sports, like gymnastics, are performed barefoot. Gymnasts have extra demands placed on the small muscles of the foot as they are not getting the support of a shoe. When training barefoot, there is an increased demand of the muscles in the foot and lower leg. These muscles will help to stabilize the foot and ankle which may reduce the risk of ankle sprains or injuries higher up the leg such as in the knee or hip. How can gymnasts help prevent injury when training barefoot? Here are some ways gymnasts can strengthen their foot muscles to improve their performance.
Knee pain in young gymnasts is a common complaint. Many times these young athletes begin having pain due to overuse of the area. A common overuse injury is Osgood-Schlatter’s disease (OSD). OSD is inflammation of the patellar ligament below the kneecap. Often, there is a painful bump below the kneecap (the tibial tuberosity) where the ligament attaches.
The ongoing pandemic has changed many of our everyday lives – including those of athletes, many of which had to completely stop, pause or alter the way they participated in their sport. For gymnasts, their training had significantly changed since the end of the last high school or club gymnastics season. To help gymnasts return to their sport safely, here as six tips to keep in mind during the modified season.
Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome is more commonly known as “Shin Splints.” This syndrome describes pain on the front and side of the shin bone in the lower leg. Shin splints are common in running and jumping athletes including gymnasts who run and tumble frequently.
Tumbling athletes, including gymnasts and cheerleaders, place unique demands on their upper body. When tumbling, the athlete places not only their entire body weight through the hands but can have up to 16 times their body weight in force going across the wrist.1 Due to these extreme conditions, pain in the wrist can occur.
Gymnastics is considered a high risk sport for head and neck injuries. A concussion is a traumatic brain injury that can occur from a direct or indirect force on the head. In gymnastics this can be the result of falling on the head, collision with equipment, collision with another athlete, or a fall where the head does not directly take the blow but a whiplash type movement occurs. In each of these scenarios, the brain moves rapidly inside the skull.
As we continue to navigate the current pandemic, athletes, coaches and teams alike have been closely monitoring whether or not they’ll be able to return to their sport. Many athletes may find themselves excited to return to sports but are they physically ready to jump right back in? These are some considerations for athletes, parents and coaches should they be allowed to return to sports after this break.
Co Authors: Team USA’s Laura Zeng and Evita Griskenas
With continued shelter in place orders across the country, many athletes are having to alter training and competition schedules including Team USA’s Rhythmic Gymnasts. Unable to attend practice as they normally would, their competition season has been interrupted along with the delay of the Tokyo Olympics. Laura Zeng and Evita Griskenas, two of Team USA’s top rhythmic gymnasts, give us insight into what they are doing at home to stay active and prevent injury as well as tips for other rhythmic gymnasts.