Gymnastics And Achilles Injuries

Dr. Keck talks about gymnastics and Achilles injuries

Gymnastics and Achilles’ injuries. Achilles injuries and most importantly how to avoid them remain at the forefront of modern-day gymnastics. With the rise in the prevalence of Achilles injuries, specifically at the NCAA level, practitioners of many disciplines are searching for answers to how we can reduce the number of Achilles injuries we see in the sport of gymnastics.  Of course, accidents are going to happen, but is there something we can be doing to decrease the risk?

The Sport Of Gymnastics

Gymnastics is a sport that requires flexibility, agility, strength, balance, endurance, and dedication.  Many gymnasts begin training at a very young age. From a young age, gymnasts are practicing anywhere from 20-40 hours a week. The rigorous practice and hard work often results in injury, if the best practices regarding proper recovery, nutrition, and mobility are not taken from that young age.  Even when athletes don’t sustain an injury, it is imperative to take time to focus on recovery, take breaks when needed, and set aside time to work on mobility.

3 gymnast athletes during exercise

Achilles Tendinitis - Common Injury In Gymnastics

This is one of the most common injuries in gymnastics, specifically in our elite athletes, performing D/E level skills on floor exercise and vault.  The impact put on the feet, specifically on the Achilles, during these events often can lead to strain, if not cared for/trained for properly. Achilles Tendinitis is caused by repetitive strain on the muscles and tendons in your lower leg. The achilles is most affected on the take off and landing of most skills.  Both gymnasts and rhythmic gymnasts tend to perform high-impact activities such as vaulting and flipping, Both of these instances are opportunities for the achilles to be strained or torn. These repetitive stresses can cause a tiny tear in the tendon that causes pain and can lead to inflammation in that area of the tendon.  It is important to find a movement specialist that you trust, to make sure you, as the gymnast, are doing everything possible to strengthen your ankles and increase your mobility.  These are best practices, and provide gymnasts with the opportunity to avoid injury.

Check out this video for helpful tips and more information about Gymnastics and Achilles Injuries.

If ever you experience this type of injury or any kind, take note that different conditions heal at different rates. Don’t rush your healing process and consult with your doctor if you’re good to go. It is important for athletes to have a proper warm-up before practice or competition and a good stretching cool-down to help with recovery after activity.

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