Gymnastics: Physical Therapy and Injury Prevention


At Foothills, we strive to provide exceptional care to help all our athletes prevent future injury and return to their sport at optimal levels. Gymnastics is an individual, artistic sport that puts great physical demands on the body. It is a year-round sport without much rest time. The competition season is in the fall for compulsory levels and in the spring for optional levels. During the competition season, a gymnast is competing to place at a state, regional, or national meet. Once this is over, a gymnast will continue to work hard to compete at the next level the following season.

During the off season, many gymnasts start working on more difficult moves to build their skills that they will need to compete at the next level of the sport. Learning these new, harder skills can open the door for injuries. In order to prevent this from happening, there should be an emphasis on improving the athlete’s flexibility, strength, and endurance.

The most common gymnast sport related injuries involve the ankle, knee, wrist/elbow, and lower back. Focused conditioning includes specific ankle strengthening and proprioception exercises that will help to reduce risk of recurrent ankle sprains. Performing wrist strengthening exercises can help reduce chronic wrist and elbow pain. Incorporating more running and endurance work can help improve a gymnast’s stamina while performing a floor routine, especially with more challenging skills. It is also important that a gymnast has proper core strength to prevent lower back injuries since they are often hypermobile in their lumbar spine.

If you are a gymnast who has an acute or chronic injury then a Rapid Recovery ® Injury Assessment is a great tool to determine the next step of care and prevent injury! Foothills offers individualized and comprehensive continuity of gymnastics specific patient care.


Danielle Goettl

N. Central Phoenix