Gymnastic Injuries

Gymnastic Injuries

Article by J. Miller, A.Clarke


Common Gymnastics Injuries

Gymnastic injuries are common. They can be overuse injuries, overstrain or traumatic. Due to the age of most gymnasts, youth injuries that can affect your growth plates need to be thoroughly investigated to ensure minimal longstanding complications.

Gymnasts can suffer injuries to all body parts. A gymnast’s extremities are, particularly at risk.

Wrist pain and strains are one of the most common gymnastics injuries. Not only are their wrists used for impact in tumbling and vaulting, but also with hanging apparatus such as bars and rings. This can also cause elbow injuries such as dislocation and shoulder pain is common with rotator cuff syndrome common.

Male gymnasts, in particular, suffer a condition known as pommel arm, which is aggravated by gripping activities such as rings and high bar and parallel bars. Pommel arm is technically medial epicondylitis, which is often referred to as golfers elbow.

Ankle injuries such as a sprained ankle are common from landings and tumbling on both firm and soft surfaces with twisting skills requiring instant stopping. Achilles tendonitis or Severs disease is likely due to the large landing and takeoff forces. Achilles tendon rupture is even more of an issue in the ageing gymnast due to the steady tendon cell degradation over time.

Likewise, the knee is often under pressure with knee ligament injuries and ACL injury common. Gymnasts are also likely to suffer patella tendonitis or related conditions in the adolescent gymnast such as Osgood Schlatter’s or Sinding Larsen Johanssen Syndrome.

Gymnasts are also at a very high risk of developing long-term lower back pain due to stress fracture in the lower vertebrae.  This back stress fracture is known as spondylolysis and can develop in a lifetime condition known as spondylolisthesisBulging disc injures can also occur.

This may all sound like doom and gloom but it shouldn’t. Gymnasts develop wonderful flexibility, core control, all-body strength and incredible skills that few other sports can replicate.

For more information regarding the assessment and management of your gymnastics injury we highly recommend that seek the advice of a physiotherapist with a background or special interest in gymnastics.

Arm Pain Causes

Arm pain and injuries are widespread. Arm pain can occur as a result of either sudden, traumatic or repetitive overuse. The causes can be related to sports injuries, work injuries or simply everyday arm use.

Arm pain can be a local injury, musculoskeletal injury or could even be referred from nerves in your neck (cervical radiculopathy). This can result in neck-arm pain.

Causes of Arm Pain by Region

Causes of Arm Pain by Structure

Neck-Related Arm Pain

Shoulder-Related Arm Pain

Elbow-Related Arm Pain

Wrist-Related Arm Pain

Hand-Related Arm Pain

Muscle-Related Arm Pain

Other Sources of Arm Pain

Common Causes of Arm Pain

The most common sources of arm pain include shoulder painwrist pain and elbow pain.

Referred Arm Pain

As mentioned earlier, arm pain can be referred to from another source. Cervical radiculopathy is a common source of referred arm pain. Cervical radiculopathy will not respond to treatment where you feel the arm pain. However, it will respond positively to treatment at the source of the injury (e.g. your neck joints).

Professional assessment from a health practitioner skilled in diagnosing both spinal-origin and local-origin (muscle and joint) injuries (e.g. your physiotherapist) is recommended to ensure an accurate diagnosis and prompt treatment directed at the arm pain source.

Arm Pain has Diverse Causes.

The causes of your arm pain can be extensive and varied. Due to this diversity, your arm pain should be assessed by a suitably qualified health practitioner to attain an accurate diagnosis, treatment plan and implementation specific to your arm pain.

What Arm Pain is Associated with a Heart Attack?

Left-arm pain can be an early sign of a life-threatening cardiac issue. Based on this, a professional medical assessment that involves an accurate history, symptom analysis, physical examination and diagnostic tests to exclude a potential heart attack is important to exclude this potentially life-threatening source of arm pain.

For more information, please consult with your health practitioner, call an ambulance on 000, or visit a hospital emergency department to put your mind at ease.

Good News. Most Arm Pain is NOT Life-Threatening.

Luckily, life-threatening arm pain is far less likely than a local musculoskeletal injury. Arm pain caused by a localised arm muscle, tendon or joint injury should be assessed and confirmed by your health practitioner before commencing treatment.

Arm Pain Prognosis

The good news is that arm pain, and injury will normally respond very favourably to medical or physiotherapy intervention when early professional assessment and treatment is sought. Please do not delay in consulting your healthcare practitioner if you experience arm pain.

Common Arm Pain Treatments

With accurate assessment and early treatment, most arm injuries respond extremely quickly to physiotherapy or medical care, allowing you to resume pain-free and normal activities of daily living quickly.

Please ask your physiotherapist for their professional treatment advice.