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Apr 16, 2022
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Is it normal for girls to have back to back injuries? My daughter is training level 9 (almost 13 years old) and over the past 6-7 months she has had 3 foot injuries, 1 hip injury, 1 back injury and 1 finger injury. None of the injuries are major. Three were overuse and three were from falls (usually sprains and one minor fracture/ankle sprain). However, she can't go more than 3 weeks without getting injured and some of them overlap. Between late May and July she did grow 1.25" but she's very small for her age. She hasn't grown any more since then so I thought the injuries would slow down. She was told that she has tight hips and shoulders but she has been working on that. I'm just at a loss at this point and willing to try anything. She broke her foot last week and I asked her if she wanted to quit and try something else but she's 100% against leaving gymnastics. Any ideas or suggestions? Has anyone gone through this before?
 
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gym_dad32608

Proud Parent
Aug 7, 2018
404
54
All I can say is yes, whether statistically true or just old maids tale, these things do seem to happen in bunches. I know mine has had similar experiences. Part of it is a function of just doing big girl skills now, some might be growing into new body, some might be from all the work leading to this point. But its not unusual to start seeing many (hopefully) minor injuries start to happen. Tisted ankles, sprained fingers, pulled muscles etc.. I did start getting more pro-active with forcing more rest, good eating habits, and regular massage therapy that has seemed to help.
 
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Aussie_coach

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Jan 4, 2008
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Unfortunately at you daughters age it can happen. I find 12-14 the worst are for this.

It’s a major time of growth and physical change and the gymnast is constantly having to adjust when they do with their bodies.

But this is also often the age where training loads and skill difficulties accelerate.

It’s definitely worth consulting a doctor. She may have some sort of deficiency causing here to have weaker bones or muscles. This is also common at this age, the body is working hard through changes and uses more of it stores.

I’m careful about the timing of girls training. Ie the age they take certain steps, to ensure if there is a Big jump in hours our requirements it’s not happening at this age. For the cajole if there is a jump in hours, when kids get to a certain state we try to make it happen long enough before puberty that the body has the time to get used to it. Things like getting a 12 year old to jump from 12-20 hours a week, is a recipe for disaster.

My kids of this age also know that we don’t push through injuries. If something hurts we stop doing that thing right away. I talk to them about what it means to be that age, and help them understand they have to be more aware, and pull back sometimes. But not to stress because this phase will pass.
 
Apr 16, 2022
12
Thank you. I really appreciate the insight! My daughter started gymnastics late and moved to team at 9 years old. She competed level 4 at 10 and then did level 5 & 7 in the same season but she never had any injuries until she was training for level 8. At that time her hours did jump from 20 to 29 per week in the summer and 34 hours per week during the school year. She had a few injuries during her level 8 season but nothing like now. Our gym does have a sports doctor so she sees him regularly and she also goes to PT. Her gym never pushes her through the injuries and always directs a slow return which is great. I just wanted to see if there is something else I could do to help her. She's having a really hard time mentally dealing with the set backs. We haven't tried massage therapy so I will definitely ask her PT about that. I'm relieved to hear this can be normal and it's not just her body that can't handle this.
 

gym_dad32608

Proud Parent
Aug 7, 2018
404
54
Thank you. I really appreciate the insight! My daughter started gymnastics late and moved to team at 9 years old. She competed level 4 at 10 and then did level 5 & 7 in the same season but she never had any injuries until she was training for level 8. At that time her hours did jump from 20 to 29 per week in the summer and 34 hours per week during the school year. She had a few injuries during her level 8 season but nothing like now. Our gym does have a sports doctor so she sees him regularly and she also goes to PT. Her gym never pushes her through the injuries and always directs a slow return which is great. I just wanted to see if there is something else I could do to help her. She's having a really hard time mentally dealing with the set backs. We haven't tried massage therapy so I will definitely ask her PT about that. I'm relieved to hear this can be normal and it's not just her body that can't handle this.
In regards to massage therapy, I would also clarify that you need a sports massage therapist. We are not talking about a relaxing type massage. My DD therapist works with many professional football players and track athletes. He does not mess around when working muscles and trouble spots.
 

gymgal

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Aug 22, 2008
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Hang in there... I commend her for pushing through. It is usually around this time (age and string of injuries) that many gymnasts decide it's not worth it anymore. Too many setbacks and pain. Some gymnasts are more prone to injuries than others and yes, they tend to come in waves. She made large jumps in hours very quickly during a a major growing period so it makes her more vulnerable. And coming back from an injury makes her more vulnerable due to fears, compensation/favoring of the injury, etc. L8+ skills are much harder to do than 7 and below - just more chances for those nagging injuries.
 
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mom2newgymnast

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Jul 8, 2014
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That's a lot for your daughter to go through.. I'm sorry she is injured again. :( I think it definitely can be normal for some girls to be frequently injured at that age/level. That does seem like a lot though. I think some of it can be overtraining honestly. 2 a day practices and 34 hours a week at her age is a lot. I think some (most?) kids bodies aren't going to be able to handle that kind of training without injuries. Also, you said that your gym doesn't rush back and or push, but the timeline you are talking about is 6 (or is it 7 - not sure if you were including the broken foot in the numbers?) injuries in 6-7 months, including a fracture and some kind of back injury. A lot of gymnasts take at least a couple of months to fully come back from an injury like an ankle sprain/fracture and if they try too soon, there is a good chance they are going to reinjure it or compensate in some way and injure another area. I just don't see how she would have time to have that many injuries if she was really not rushing back too soon? Anyway, I've also heard to check their blood work for things like low vitamin D because that can contribute to frequent injuries. Hope she heals well and is back at it again soon!
 
Apr 16, 2022
12
That's a lot for your daughter to go through.. I'm sorry she is injured again. :( I think it definitely can be normal for some girls to be frequently injured at that age/level. That does seem like a lot though. I think some of it can be overtraining honestly. 2 a day practices and 34 hours a week at her age is a lot. I think some (most?) kids bodies aren't going to be able to handle that kind of training without injuries. Also, you said that your gym doesn't rush back and or push, but the timeline you are talking about is 6 (or is it 7 - not sure if you were including the broken foot in the numbers?) injuries in 6-7 months, including a fracture and some kind of back injury. A lot of gymnasts take at least a couple of months to fully come back from an injury like an ankle sprain/fracture and if they try too soon, there is a good chance they are going to reinjure it or compensate in some way and injure another area. I just don't see how she would have time to have that many injuries if she was really not rushing back too soon? Anyway, I've also heard to check their blood work for things like low vitamin D because that can contribute to frequent injuries. Hope she heals well and is back at it again soon!
I agree. It's a lot of hours and I've asked her to skip some of the afternoon practices but she believes she is behind (because of the injuries) so she's not wanting to take off. I suppose I will just have to put my foot down at some point and make her. The foot fracture just happened last week and she will be in a boot for 4 weeks. Then she will begin PT to start her slow return so probably another 4-6 weeks. Sorry, that wasn't really included in the original 6-7 months. The back injury was a sprain from a beam fall on her series. She was 7 weeks into that injury and starting to come back but hasn't finished PT. They were doing soft landings with her at that point but she actually sprained her ankle during leg conditioning because she came off the side of a mat on a leap. I do have her on 2 vitamins with vitamin D and calcium but I will ask her doctor the next time I see him if we can check her levels. Thank you!
 

Coach Kate

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Oct 13, 2021
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That seems like a lot of hours for a level 9. I would have thought it would be more in summer and less in the school year, but 34 hours a week plus school is honestly too much in my opinion. If she is stressed, not able to really sleep as much as she needs with homework and gym, not getting a chance to slow down and eat good meals, this could also be effecting her recovery and injury rate.
 

JPC13

Proud Parent
Mar 25, 2022
459
OP -- that's rough, but not surprising. There are all sorts of studies that look at re-injury risk and the statistics are pretty clear across every sport I've seen. Re-injury is likely. Here is a non-gym study's finding:

Conclusions Previous injury was found to be a significant risk factor for reinjury, particularly at the site of the fingers. Technical difficulty in bouldering and sport climbing behaviours were significantly associated with repetitive overuse reinjury. As participatory figures increase, so does the likelihood that a high proportion of climbers may sustain a reinjury of the upper extremity.


How, and when, you come back from an injury matters a lot.
 
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Apr 16, 2022
12
That seems like a lot of hours for a level 9. I would have thought it would be more in summer and less in the school year, but 34 hours a week plus school is honestly too much in my opinion. If she is stressed, not able to really sleep as much as she needs with homework and gym, not getting a chance to slow down and eat good meals, this could also be effecting her recovery and injury rate.
That makes sense! She home schools but the program she is in definitely got a lot harder this year. 7th grade comes with an additional class so her workload increased quite a bit and she's having a hard time keeping up with assignments. This does stress her out a lot. It doesn't help she's already very high strung and a perfectionist with everything she does... so she's very hard on herself 24/7.
 

CuriousCate

Proud Parent
Jul 12, 2016
694
Is it normal for girls to have back to back injuries? My daughter is training level 9 (almost 13 years old) and over the past 6-7 months she has had 3 foot injuries, 1 hip injury, 1 back injury and 1 finger injury. None of the injuries are major. Three were overuse and three were from falls (usually sprains and one minor fracture/ankle sprain). However, she can't go more than 3 weeks without getting injured and some of them overlap. Between late May and July she did grow 1.25" but she's very small for her age. She hasn't grown any more since then so I thought the injuries would slow down. She was told that she has tight hips and shoulders but she has been working on that. I'm just at a loss at this point and willing to try anything. She broke her foot last week and I asked her if she wanted to quit and try something else but she's 100% against leaving gymnastics. Any ideas or suggestions? Has anyone gone through this before?

Sending you a PM.
 
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Kolabola29

Proud Parent
May 12, 2022
57
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Consider a sports/gymnast nutritionist. A lot of injuries can be attributed in part to lack of adequate nutrition (not fueling enough or the right way).
 
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PeanutsMom

Proud Parent
Jun 14, 2019
208
Thank you. I really appreciate the insight! My daughter started gymnastics late and moved to team at 9 years old. She competed level 4 at 10 and then did level 5 & 7 in the same season but she never had any injuries until she was training for level 8. At that time her hours did jump from 20 to 29 per week in the summer and 34 hours per week during the school year. She had a few injuries during her level 8 season but nothing like now. Our gym does have a sports doctor so she sees him regularly and she also goes to PT. Her gym never pushes her through the injuries and always directs a slow return which is great. I just wanted to see if there is something else I could do to help her. She's having a really hard time mentally dealing with the set backs. We haven't tried massage therapy so I will definitely ask her PT about that. I'm relieved to hear this can be normal and it's not just her body that can't handle this.
Why is she training 34 hours per week? Our level 10s only train 20 hours a week and all of them qualified to Nationals, several are competing on D1 teams, and while they all had a share of injuries most were minor. 20-29 hours in the summer and then MORE during the school year? My daughter was diagnosed with a full break between her L4 and L5 and a slip between L5 and S1 a month before her 13th birthday. Never had she had a big fall or traumatic injury. It was overuse and overtraining since being on team since 7 years old. She only ever trained 16 hours a week. She is now down to 12 hours a week (we switched to Xcel Diamond due to her back injuries) and it is more than enough for her to continue to progress in skills and still rest her body.
 
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Apr 16, 2022
12
Why is she training 34 hours per week? Our level 10s only train 20 hours a week and all of them qualified to Nationals, several are competing on D1 teams, and while they all had a share of injuries most were minor. 20-29 hours in the summer and then MORE during the school year? My daughter was diagnosed with a full break between her L4 and L5 and a slip between L5 and S1 a month before her 13th birthday. Never had she had a big fall or traumatic injury. It was overuse and overtraining since being on team since 7 years old. She only ever trained 16 hours a week. She is now down to 12 hours a week (we switched to Xcel Diamond due to her back injuries) and it is more than enough for her to continue to progress in skills and still rest her body.
Wow! I'm so sorry your daughter had to go through that. That sounds like a horrible and scary injury but I'm very happy she's doing better now. 30+ hours a week is actually very common for gyms in our area. Most of the gyms have day homeschool programs with anywhere from 28 to 35 hours a week. The only time you can get into a program with around 24-26 hours a week is if you go to the evening (after school) groups. Unfortunately my daughter would not be able to stay with her coaches and friends if she did that.
 

PeanutsMom

Proud Parent
Jun 14, 2019
208
Wow! I'm so sorry your daughter had to go through that. That sounds like a horrible and scary injury but I'm very happy she's doing better now. 30+ hours a week is actually very common for gyms in our area. Most of the gyms have day homeschool programs with anywhere from 28 to 35 hours a week. The only time you can get into a program with around 24-26 hours a week is if you go to the evening (after school) groups. Unfortunately my daughter would not be able to stay with her coaches and friends if she did that.
Homeschool or not, 30+ hours a week is a lot of wear and tear on her body. I believe it was Riley McCusker who started having health issues (not injuries, but kidney issues) from over training.
 

ReluctantGymMom

Proud Parent
May 11, 2020
357
33
My kiddo is prone to back to back small
Nagging injuries, especially when they start moving back to floor and hard landings in preparation for competition. During the summer, she hyperextended her knee on a vault landing, was in crutches and took over a month to return, to promptly hurt her wrists and sprain her ankles. Literally just back to back, there was two weeks she wore an ankle brace, knee brace, tiger paws and tape at the same time.

This happens every single year and it’s exhausting. I recommend consistent PT, mine is lazy about her PT and it shows when she stops working it.

Also 34 hours a week is nearly a full time job, that’s kind of nuts on her joints
 

Mom02

Proud Parent
Mar 14, 2021
16
Thank you. That this can be the usual. I was thinking something was wrong with my DD just got over back sprain in PT still, now with knee pain and hurt her wrist early summer. I’m like what is going on?
She can definitely improve her diet. She loves the sport n cries if she has to think about quitting. Because I asked about it bc of the injuries/aches/ pains. How do parents cope?
 

WV Gym Mom

Proud Parent
Mar 7, 2022
72
49
The amount of injuries your child is getting could very well be in direct proportion to the overwhelming number of hours...34 hours training is almost double what the level 10s in my daughter's gym do, and they do great at nationals (and have even produced a world vault champion). I know you say it is common in your area to do that many hours, I believe your daughter's body is saying that it is too much.