This year’s Rio Olympics was an incredibly inspirational event, especially for those who watched the American gymnastics team dominate for gold both as a team and as individuals. In recent years, gymnastics has soared in popularity and as a result, more and more younger individuals are practicing this very demanding sport. According to Gymnastics Rescue, a site dedicated to helping people treat and prevent injuries, over 100,000 gymnastics-related injuries are treated in hospitals each year. Although many injuries occur as a result of accidents, a significant number of injuries can be prevented.

The most common injuries in gymnastics are:

  • Ankle sprains – When the ankle rolls outward or inward excessively, it can cause injury to the ligaments surrounding the ankle bone.
  • Fractures – A bone can crack or break when it is subjected to too much pressure. Repetitive motions often result in stress fractures in the metatarsals.
  • Muscle strains – The twisting, bending, and jumping involved in gymnastics can apply a lot of strain on the muscles.

Follow these tips to prevent these types of injuries:

  • Take your child to see a doctor to make sure he or she is physically fit.
  • Be familiar with the safety measures necessary to keep your child safe. These may include special footwear, pads, and safety harnesses.
  • Make sure the facilities are equipped with protected floors and harnesses for safety and that spotters are present for difficult maneuvers.
  • All practices should begin with a thorough warm up and stretches.
  • See a podiatrist at the first signs of pain or discomfort in the feet or ankles to prevent worsening of a condition.

Despite the high-risk nature of the sport, with diligent care and attention to safety, it is possible to avoid many of these common injuries. The first step is to have a trustworthy podiatrist you can turn to. At Podiatry Center of New Jersey, board-certified podiatrist Dr. Russell Samofal treats many sports-related injuries and specializes in reconstructive foot and ankle surgery. Visit our website for more information or call our Wayne office at (973) 925-4111 to schedule an appointment!