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The Most Common Injuries Kids Suffer with Gymnastics

Gymnastics is a sport which requires intensity and a huge amount of time in terms of training.  This is because a gymnast needs to be flexible, strong, and at the same time need to enhance their grace, speed, and balance.  With that, it is very common to hear gymnasts encountering minor or major injuries. Children are not exempted from possibly suffering from these injuries especially since they want to emulate what they see from gymnastics activities performed by individuals older than them and have difficult levels of techniques and skills requirements which are not yet appropriate for their age.  Here are the most common injuries your child might experience when you enroll them at any toddlers gymnastics classes:

Most Common Injuries Kids Injuries at Gymnastics

 Common Injuries Kids Suffer with Gymnastics
The best thing you can do is to not allow your child to be discouraged when they suffer these common injuries.  This is part of their growing with gymnastics.  Instead, have their injuries treated immediately and offer words of comfort.  Let them decide if they want to discontinue with the sport. 

1. Injuries in the elbow. The elbow is one of the most exploited parts of the upper limb especially when the routine calls for flip flopping, cart wheeling, and tumbling.  The injury to the elbow is not intentional but rather due to stoppage of blood flow to the cartilage area; thus, making it soft and once it is softened, it cannot withstand the pressure of holding body weight which leads to elbow injuries.

2. Injuries in the wrist area. Even if kids are not enrolled formally at any gymnastics classes, he or she will still do lots of tumbling, climbing, and swinging as these are activities common to kids.  Naturally, children will exploit their wrists in order to grab strength to perform gymnastics routines.  You must understand that the wrist and other parts of the body are still in growth development and are not quite sturdy; thus, children are really vulnerable to wrist injuries.  There is a tendency for the child to develop ulnar variance, a condition where the wrist stops developing and other parts of the arms continue to develop and grow.  Thus, the wrists encounter a lot of stress and leads to tearing of cartilages and trauma to the bones and hands. 

3. An injury to the shoulder. According to statistics, injuries in this part of the body are most common among male gymnasts.  Even when male gymnasts start at a very young age, learning gymnastics at any program will expose them to more demanding activities that require extreme strength and flexibility even at a young age.  This could be due to prejudice that males should be stronger than females.  And they are trained to perform more daring stunts than females.  Most common shoulder injuries are tendinitis in the rotator cuff and biceps area. 

4. Injuries at the back. Low back pain for both male and female gymnasts is very common.  It is a form of stress manifestation of their body especially at the vertebrae area of the bones which is part of the spinal column.  When there is back pain, gymnasts can hardly resort to follow proper posture as the spinal column becomes weak. If left untreated and the gymnast will insist to continue participating in gymnastics activities, it can lead to slip disc or dislocation of some bones in the spinal column.  Just think of how dangerous it would be if your child suffers this kind of injury without you knowing it. 

5. Injuries to the knees. Knee injury is one of the most common injuries as the knee is also one of the most overused parts of the body when kids perform gymnastics activities.  The injury or pain is caused by kneecap having abnormal tracking.  Thus, when left untreated can lead to tearing of ligament and consequently, gymnasts find it difficult to stand for an extended period of time or cannot land forcefully. 

6. Injuries in the ankle and foot. Spraining the ankle and the heel is very common also especially when making a landing after performing a series of tumbling and cart wheeling. 

What Parents Can Do

 Common Injuries Kids Suffer with Gymnastics

Since kids are still in the development and growth stage, it is imperative that they are monitored when performing exercises and routines in any gymnastics classes.  Other suggestions include:

  1. Don’t pressure the kid to do something which he or she can’t do yet in terms of age and body structure.
  2. Encourage children to take a rest so that they will not overdo and overuse their bodies.  Explain at their language why excessive physical activity is not good for them. 
  3. Identify limits on how much time they spend on training.  It is not advisable to use the front yard or any parts of the house to train for gymnastics.  First and foremost, your house lacks the necessary equipment and second, it is not designed to allow kids to perform gymnastics activities. 
  4. Remind kids to perform warm up exercises to allow the body to adjust to demands of activities that requires strength and flexibility more than their body can afford to perform. 
  5. Encourage them to master their sport by doing mastery techniques such as visualization.  It is not necessary that they have to spend more time in gymnastics school in order to master different routines and exercises. 
  6. When children are injured, it is important to supervise and monitor them during the healing process.  The injury should heal full stop; thus, you need to discourage them from doing any activities that may complicate the injury while healing. 
One week is enough for toddlers to run, jump, swing, climb, and flip flop at a gymnastics school.  In other words, do not allow kids to overdo.  Instead, just follow the schedule their coach provided and limit only on the recommended activities appropriate for his or her age, ability, and body structure.  Eventually, he or she can catch up in terms of gymnastics abilities. 

See also How to Choose the Right Gymnastics Class for Your Kids

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