Common injuries and safety tips
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Gymnastics is a highly demanding sport. The performance of complex routines puts the body through a tremendous amount of stress and force, which can lead to injuries.
Some of the more common gymnastics injuries to the upper body include tears of the tendons and other tissues that support the shoulder, elbow dislocations, and wrist sprains. In addition to those, fractures, sprains and strains occur often in the lower body.
● Wrist sprains
A sprained wrist typically occurs when a gymnast stretches or tears the ligaments of the wrist. Falling or landing hard on the hands during handsprings is a common cause of wrist sprains.
● Ankle sprains
Ankle sprains usually occur during floor routines or falls from the balance beam or parallel bars. There are ligaments that connect the bones of the foot, ankle and lower leg. If the ankle rolls outward while the foot rolls inward, it can cause ligaments outside the ankle to stretch and tear.
● Achilles Tendonitis
The Achilles tendon is located just above the back of the heel and can be injured due to the repetitive stress of jumping and landing. A strain or injury to the Achilles tendon can result in Achilles Tendonitis, where the tendon connecting the back of your leg to your heel becomes swollen and painful near the bottom of your foot.
● Wear wrist straps, guards and grips
Such gear is used by female gymnasts on uneven bars, as well as by male gymnasts on the still rings, high bar, and parallel bars. They are meant to improve a gymnast’s hold on the apparatus and decrease friction on the skin to keep hands from developing painful blisters. Most grips consist of a piece of leather attached to a wrist strap. Other options include wrapping the hands in sports tape or gauze.
If you wear shoes while competing in the vault event, you might want to use ones with reinforced toes to help absorb the pressure of landing. While competing on the balance beam, some gymnasts prefer using shoes with rubber soles to prevent themselves from slipping.
● Spotting belts
These belts are hooked onto cables that are attached to the ceiling. It is especially useful when you are practicing a new trick, or attempting difficult manoeuvres.
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