Overloading changes in the motor system occurring in elite gymnasts

Int J Sports Med. 1985 Feb;6(1):36-40. doi: 10.1055/s-2008-1025810.


Top-level gymnasts were examined in 1976 and in 1980. During both examinations X-ray osteal changes as a result of training were found. In 1980 complaints of pain during the training process were analyzed. It was found that radiological changes appeared in the elbow joints (73.2%), spinal column (65.8%), in the area of the shoulder joints (59.8%), and in the wrist joints (58.5%). The L-S segment of the spinal column had such anomalies as schistorrhachis of the S1 arc, lumbarization, and sacralization. A characteristic feature was the frequent discrepancy between complaints of pain and radiological changes. In many cases permanent radiological changes were not accompanied by pain. Longer training periods were associated with more pronounced changes. It was concluded that radiological examinations should be one of the criteria for selecting gymnasts and a change in the FIG regulations is proposed to reduce the work load of the motor system.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Arthrography*
  • Elbow Joint / diagnostic imaging
  • Elbow Joint / pathology
  • Gymnastics*
  • Humans
  • Joints / pathology
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / diagnostic imaging*
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / pathology
  • Male
  • Pain
  • Shoulder Joint / diagnostic imaging
  • Shoulder Joint / pathology
  • Time Factors
  • Wrist Joint / diagnostic imaging
  • Wrist Joint / pathology