This month, we have decided to dedicate our blog posts to focus on injuries common seen in gymnastics. Whether you’re performing the perfect dismount from the beam, somersaulting over the vault, or practicing your tumbling passes on the basketball court (this is for you too, cheerleaders!), it is vital that you are landing with the proper technique to avoid injury to the ankles, knees, hips and lower back.
So why is this so important? When landing from your gymnastics skill, forces experienced during take-offs and landings have ranged from anywhere between 5 to 17.5 times your body weight. That is huge! Especially if you are landing with improper mechanics.
We’ll start this series with three easy keys to be mindful of with landings:
Feet should be hip width apart, and toes, hips, knees and shoulder should all be in line. A common occurrence that we see is the gymnasts knee tends to go inward (knock-kneed position) which can increase the likelihood of ACL injury, hip labrum injuries, and many others. The picture belows shows an example of a normal landing posture, versus a valgus and abnormal landing posture.
Core should be in a neutral position (not to arched or too hollowed). This is important because the low back is one of the most common sites of injuries, often because landing without the core in neutral position can increase stress on the lumbar spine, leading to injuries such as muscle strains or spondylolisthesis. The following pictures shows good posture (neutral position), anterior pelvic tilt (excessive arch), and posterior pelvic tilt (excessive hollowing).
Trunk and tibial lines close to parallel and hip angle close to 30 degrees of flexion. This is a good objective marker to make sure that everything is in proper alignment and can most easily seen by a side view. Below is a picture demonstrating this key.
For any questions regarding common gymnastics injuries or prevention, please contact us at one of our seven locations across Baton Rouge, Prarieville, Gonzales, and Denham Springs!