The Rio Olympics were a huge success for the United States (as long as you don’t count the last week of competition, when boys behaving badly marred the positive headlines). Our families were rooted to the TV each night to see one of our favorite sports broadcasted: men’s and women’s artistic gymnastics.
There’s no question that gymnasts like superstars Simone Biles, Ali Raisman, and Gabby Douglas are athletes of the highest caliber. They need super strength, balance, and some kind of preternatural sense of where they are in space in order to flip and fly off the uneven bars or the vault as they do – and then make it down to earth in one piece.
All of us at Foot & Ankle Associates of Cleveland think that there must be kids all over the world who are
psyched to be the next Simone Biles. If your child is among them, be aware of these foot injuries that plague even the best gymnasts:
- Stress fractures and complete fractures- cracks or full breaks caused by repeated stress on one area and the high impact nature of all those “stuck” landings.
- Ankle twists or sprains – overstretching of the ligaments that surround the ankle bones.
- Heel pain – especially common in young athletes whose growth plate becomes inflamed.
Perhaps the most important step you can take to prevent gymnastics injuries is to find the right training center. The best gym and the best coaches will
- Prepare your child mentally to understanding the dedication that it takes to safely perform demanding gymnastic moves.
- Prepare your child physically, incorporating muscle strength and flexibility exercises into their training, including all of the muscles in their feet and ankles.
- Understand when your child is ready for advancement and when he or she is not.
- Have the latest equipment and safety measures firmly in place – ask about these before you sign up.
While you can make all the right moves to prevent injuries, they still happen. Dr. Craig B. Frey and Dr. Megan L. Oltmann are expert podiatrists who are athletes themselves. They are experienced in treating all sorts of sports injuries to the feet and ankles. Call us at (440) 903-1041 with your questions or to make an appointment. You may also contact us online.