About Gymnastics Injuries\nMillions of youth participate in gymnastics every year in the United States, at a variety of levels of skill\nand competition. As a sport, gymnastics builds strength, balance, and flexibility, but it also has an injury rate similar to sports such as hockey and soccer.\nRELATED: Why Do Our Bodies Swell?\nUpper Body Injuries in Gymnastics\nGymnastics places exceptional stress on joints, especially to the upper body.\nEvents like the vault, rings, and bars, tumbling, and other advanced skills can leave shoulders, wrists,\nand elbows vulnerable to injury. Injuries might include:\n\nLigament sprains\/tears of the shoulder, elbow or wrist\nGrowth plate injuries in skeletally immature athletes\nJoint dislocations of the shoulder, elbow or wrist fractures\nTendon strains\n\nCommon Lower Body Injuries in Gymnastics\nHard landings, over rotating, and the repetitive stress of jumping and landing can lead to lower body\ninjuries for gymnasts.\nRELATED: 5 Easy Lower Body Exercises\nInjuries to the tendons or ligaments in knee, like the patella tendon or the anterior cruciate ligament\n(ACL), can require surgery, rehabilitation, and significant time away from their sport.\nGymnasts also experience ankle and foot sprains, which can range from very minor to severe.\nRepeated injuries of this kind can be serious and should be addressed with a physician.\nRELATED: Preventing ACL Injuries\nBack Injuries Common Among Gymnasts\nAs gymnasts bend their backs, muscles, tendons, and bones are stressed. Common back injuries in\ngymnasts include:\n\nMuscle strain\nSprained ligaments\nSpinal fractures\nDisc disorders\n\nDespite the risk of these injuries, long-term lower back pain for gymnasts is not common.\nSafety in Gymnastics: Injury Prevention\nEvery year, many young people perform gymnastics without injury. Here are a few tips to help young\ngymnasts:\n\nGet expert coaching. Your coach should be well-versed in gymnastic safety practices and provide appropriate instructions for progressing skills and proper supervision.\nListen to your body. Your body sends pain signals to indicate something is wrong. Rather than try to push through, give your body time to rest and recuperate.\nWarm up, cool down, and stretch properly.\nEnsure that all equipment is properly functioning, maintained and used as intended.\nPeople trained in first aid should be available at all gymnastics events and practices.\n\n\n“Many Olympic and elite athletes routinely participated in gymnastics as children and attribute this to\ntheir success, even if they are athletes in other sports,” said S. Josh Szabo, MD, sports medicine\northopaedic surgeon who sees patients at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex.\n“Gymnastics develops strength, body awareness, balance, and flexibility that enhance athletic\nperformance for any sport. In countries such as China and Russia, children regularly participate in\ngymnastics as core physical fitness for this reason,” he said.\nIf you experience a gymnastics injury, seeking care from a sports medicine professional can help you\nprevent more serious injuries and get back into the gym safely. To learn more about UPMC Sports Medicine, or to schedule an appointment, visit UPMCSportsMedicine.com or call 1-855-93-SPORT (77678).