Gymnastic injuries

Sports Med. 1992 May;13(5):337-56. doi: 10.2165/00007256-199213050-00004.


In the past 15 to 20 years gymnastics has become very popular. The increased participation exposes a greater number of athletes to potential injury. The risk of gymnastic injuries seems to be proportional to the level of the athletes; the higher the level of gymnastics, the more hours are spent in practice, with a greater exposure time. With the increased risk in gymnastics, the incidence of acute injuries will also increase, and as the skill level increases, the load during the workout will also increase, providing more opportunity for chronic injuries. As in many sports, the ankle is the most injured body part. Some injuries, however, seem to be specific to gymnastics. In gymnastics the upper extremities are used as weightbearing limbs, so high impact loads are distributed through the elbow and wrist joint. Back problems appear to result not only from single episodes of macrotrauma, but also from repeated microtrauma caused by specific impact loads during vaults and hyperextension. Early detection is the key to treating elbow, wrist and back pain in the gymnast. Reinjury following an acute injury may be reduced by allowing for complete rehabilitation before returning to full practice. Some studies indicate that maturation rate could play a potential role in injury predisposition. The combination of periods of rapid growth and intense training could provide for conditions where the gymnast is more injury prone.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Athletic Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Cumulative Trauma Disorders
  • Elbow Joint / injuries
  • Gymnastics / injuries*
  • Humans
  • Joints / injuries
  • Risk Factors
  • Spinal Injuries / epidemiology
  • Wrist Injuries