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Smaa

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Jul 16, 2022
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My daughter with spondylolysis. Does it pass and she will be able To go back to gymnastics?
 

IreneKa

Proud Parent
Fan
Mar 18, 2013
1,686
It will certainly heal, but for her to go back to gymnastics she need to do a lot of PT. You need to find a good PT, knowledgeable in treating gymnasts. The injury like that doesn't happen without a reason. They need to find a reason and correct it, otherwise it will just happen again.
Search for back pain or back injury here on CB, there is a lot of information you can find.
 
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Smaa

New Member
Jul 16, 2022
13
41
Thank you for answering
I hope she will be able to go back.
She really love it and good in it.
 

PeanutsMom

Proud Parent
Jun 14, 2019
196
My daughter with spondylolysis. Does it pass and she will be able To go back to gymnastics?
We have been in the midst of this journey for a while. You can search my previous posts, but this is the gist of it.

My daughter, age 13, level 7/8, never had a traumatic injury (no falls, no short landings, no crashes) and started complaining of hip pain in September of last year. Time passes, it ebbs and flows, we go to PT thinking she is having pains from growing (over 6 inches in 6 months) and we treat with ibuprofen when its really bad. She did 2 full meets in the fall, qualified for state. It got to the point it felt like someone was stabbing her in the hip in the car home after practice. I made an appointment with an ortho to have her hip x-rayed. It was not her hip.

Diagnosis: she had a full break in the par between L4 and L5, probably started as a stress fracture, but pulled all the way apart. She has has a grade 1plus slip between L5 and S1. She was put on full rest (no backpack at school, walking only on even ground, braced for 4 weeks) and sent to see a pediatric orthopedic surgeon. She was CLEARED to go back to gym for just bars at first. Then she could add in events as long as what she added in did not cause any pain. We have 2 Children's hospitals in our area and we sought out 2 different surgeons because its her back and I didn't want to rush her back to gym without being certain. Both surgeons said the same thing. No surgery was required. Gymnastics was okay if she avoided hyperextending her back. No back walkovers anymore and none of her fancy contortionist moves that her coaches loved to show off. Follow up with minimum of 8 weeks of core PT and new scans in 6 months.

She actually had her 6 months scans yesterday and her follow up with the orthopedic surgeon. There has been NO movement in the slip and if you compare xrays from December with the ones from yesterday there has been literally no change. The doc was super happy. She is fully cleared and only has to go back for new scans in a year. Also, if any pain arises she is to stop and we are to call the ortho for new scans. New pain being severe, not just a hard practice pain.

Know you daughter's slip. How far it is? Surgery doesn't happen, according to our doctors (both of them) until a grade 4. Anything less, they don't want to see progression. Also, keep the core strong (which most gymnasts do anyway). Find a surgeon or 2 and compare notes. You child only has 1 back. Stay away from moves that hyperextend the back. Back Handsprings are longer than back walkovers, so handsprings don't hurt the way walkovers did for my daughter. Her coaches have been AMAZING at modifying her routines. She does not do bridges or any type of over arching for warm ups or routines.

Gymnastics is possible, but I strongly recommend a medical team you trust.
 

Smaa

New Member
Jul 16, 2022
13
41
We have been in the midst of this journey for a while. You can search my previous posts, but this is the gist of it.

My daughter, age 13, level 7/8, never had a traumatic injury (no falls, no short landings, no crashes) and started complaining of hip pain in September of last year. Time passes, it ebbs and flows, we go to PT thinking she is having pains from growing (over 6 inches in 6 months) and we treat with ibuprofen when its really bad. She did 2 full meets in the fall, qualified for state. It got to the point it felt like someone was stabbing her in the hip in the car home after practice. I made an appointment with an ortho to have her hip x-rayed. It was not her hip.

Diagnosis: she had a full break in the par between L4 and L5, probably started as a stress fracture, but pulled all the way apart. She has has a grade 1plus slip between L5 and S1. She was put on full rest (no backpack at school, walking only on even ground, braced for 4 weeks) and sent to see a pediatric orthopedic surgeon. She was CLEARED to go back to gym for just bars at first. Then she could add in events as long as what she added in did not cause any pain. We have 2 Children's hospitals in our area and we sought out 2 different surgeons because its her back and I didn't want to rush her back to gym without being certain. Both surgeons said the same thing. No surgery was required. Gymnastics was okay if she avoided hyperextending her back. No back walkovers anymore and none of her fancy contortionist moves that her coaches loved to show off. Follow up with minimum of 8 weeks of core PT and new scans in 6 months.

She actually had her 6 months scans yesterday and her follow up with the orthopedic surgeon. There has been NO movement in the slip and if you compare xrays from December with the ones from yesterday there has been literally no change. The doc was super happy. She is fully cleared and only has to go back for new scans in a year. Also, if any pain arises she is to stop and we are to call the ortho for new scans. New pain being severe, not just a hard practice pain.

Know you daughter's slip. How far it is? Surgery doesn't happen, according to our doctors (both of them) until a grade 4. Anything less, they don't want to see progression. Also, keep the core strong (which most gymnasts do anyway). Find a surgeon or 2 and compare notes. You child only has 1 back. Stay away from moves that hyperextend the back. Back Handsprings are longer than back walkovers, so handsprings don't hurt the way walkovers did for my daughter. Her coaches have been AMAZING at modifying her routines. She does not do bridges or any type of over arching for warm ups or routines.

Gymnastics is possible, but I strongly recommend a medical team you trust.
Hi,
Thank you very much for the detailed explanation.
My daughter has a fracture on both sides of the vertebra without slipping.
She is in a corset for three months. The orthopedist said that she will be treated for at least 9 months until she can gradually return to activity.
I can't understand how she will return to gymnastics because there are a lot of hyperextended and bridges in gymnastics.
can it happen again

or get worse? The girl loves it very much and wants to come back and I tell her that I am not sure because I am very afraid of
her body.
thank you very much,
I hope your girl will be healthy and will be able to do everything
 

PeanutsMom

Proud Parent
Jun 14, 2019
196
Hi,
Thank you very much for the detailed explanation.
My daughter has a fracture on both sides of the vertebra without slipping.
She is in a corset for three months. The orthopedist said that she will be treated for at least 9 months until she can gradually return to activity.
I can't understand how she will return to gymnastics because there are a lot of hyperextended and bridges in gymnastics.
can it happen again

or get worse? The girl loves it very much and wants to come back and I tell her that I am not sure because I am very afraid of
her body.
thank you very much,
I hope your girl will be healthy and will be able to do everything
There are things she cannot do. She can't do back walkovers (ever) and no bridges. These are the things that hyperextend her back the most. She also has been very flexible and her coaches used to love to showcase her flexibility on floor with her feet touching the floor over her head or a rotating split with her bottom sitting on top of her head and her feet over her head (this makes sense in my head, sorry if it doesn't translate well to a written description). These types of contortionist tricks cannot be done. However, her flipping, bar swinging, and impact has not been impacted. She feels she can continue to move forward without doing these things. Her doctor says this is great. Her coaches are on board and that makes ALL the difference. Good luck!!
 

Smaa

New Member
Jul 16, 2022
13
41
There are things she cannot do. She can't do back walkovers (ever) and no bridges. These are the things that hyperextend her back the most. She also has been very flexible and her coaches used to love to showcase her flexibility on floor with her feet touching the floor over her head or a rotating split with her bottom sitting on top of her head and her feet over her head (this makes sense in my head, sorry if it doesn't translate well to a written description). These types of contortionist tricks cannot be done. However, her flipping, bar swinging, and impact has not been impacted. She feels she can continue to move forward without doing these things. Her doctor says this is great. Her coaches are on board and that makes ALL the difference. Good luck!!
 

Smaa

New Member
Jul 16, 2022
13
41
The problem is that if back jumps with bridge are not allowed, then she will not be able to participate in the floor and beam exercises. So surely she can't compete? Is it possible to only do bar and jumps?
 

PreciousJ

Gold Membership
Proud Parent
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Feb 16, 2021
448
USA
The problem is that if back jumps with bridge are not allowed, then she will not be able to participate in the floor and beam exercises. So surely she can't compete? Is it possible to only do bar and jumps?
I haven't personally experienced this, but I think it is vital that your daughter's health care team understands that she does gymnastics and would like to return to it. If possible, try to have her evaluated by an orthopedist and physical therapist who specialize in treating gymnasts. Skills can be modified or substituted to address her needs, as @PeanutsMom described. Depending on her situation, she may even be able to compete as an event specialist. However, it is ultimately up to the physicians to determine her long-term outlook. Your daughter will need her back for LIFE, so her healing process will be very important. Only you and your daughter's care team and coaches will be able to determine what works best for her. Good luck and please update us!
 
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JPC13

Proud Parent
Mar 25, 2022
185
I haven't personally experienced this, but I think it is vital that your daughter's health care team understands that she does gymnastics and would like to return to it. If possible, try to have her evaluated by an orthopedist and physical therapist who specialize in treating gymnasts. Skills can be modified or substituted to address her needs, as @PeanutsMom described. Depending on her situation, she may even be able to compete as an event specialist. However, it is ultimately up to the physicians to determine her long-term outlook. Your daughter will need her back for LIFE, so her healing process will be very important. Only you and your daughter's care team and coaches will be able to determine what works best for her. Good luck and please update us!
I totally agree. I've been treated by a bunch of different doctors and there's a world of difference between a regular doctor ("just stop lifting if it bothers your elbow") versus a sports medicine specialist ("OK, here's how to modify your lifts and we'll do cortisone shots and deep tissue massage until the inflammation goes away").

If my daughter got injured in gymnastics my first call would be to the nearest D1 program's medical support person for a referral to whoever their athletes see.
 
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PreciousJ

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Feb 16, 2021
448
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@IreneKa posted a very good point earlier - someone who has treated gymnasts with this condition before will be able to figure out what may have caused it. Certain movements may have led to your daughter's injury, but only a knowledgeable person will be able to determine that. Knowing the cause (or the likely cause) will help your daughter avoid situations that may aggravate her back in the future, which will determine what she can or can't do in gymnastics.
 
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PeanutsMom

Proud Parent
Jun 14, 2019
196
The problem is that if back jumps with bridge are not allowed, then she will not be able to participate in the floor and beam exercises. So surely she can't compete? Is it possible to only do bar and jumps?
My daughter can do floor and beam just fine. She does not have to be an event specialist, but the option was there if needed. Back handsprings are not as arched as a walkover. They are longer, so don't hyperextend the back as much. She can also tumble (layouts, fulls, etc). There are few restrictions.

You need to talk to an orthopedist who knows gymnastics (physical therapist as well). Your daughter's break may be in a different location than my daughter's and she may have other diagnosis than my daughter. I only tell you what my daughter is allowed to do based upon serious conversations with our medical team.

Someone above mentioned calling a D1 program and talking to their doctor. This sounds like a fantastic idea.
 
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MuggleMom

Proud Parent
Dec 22, 2016
782
Virginia
My daughter has a fracture on both sides of the vertebra without slipping.
She is in a corset for three months. The orthopedist said that she will be treated for at least 9 months until she can gradually return to activity.
I am not a DR and I dont have medical advice BUT this seems like a very long time to be braced. We have had a few girls with fractures and most were braced 4-6 weeks and one was not braced at all.

My kiddo was just diagnosed with 2 fractures (one on each side) and our Dr said 4-6 weeks in a brace and then 2 months of PT before a slow return for gym. A friend of mines kid had 6 weeks in a brace and 2 months of PT over summer and fall and was able to compete in the winter.

All this to say...I would make sure you have a Dr that treats gymnasts and shares your goal to get gymnasts back to the sport safely. There is one Dr in our area that no one goes to because their answer is always "quit gymnastics" and they don't do a good job of getting the kids back to the sport IF that's what they want.

Don't shop for the answer you want but do get multiple opinions if you are concerned that this Dr doesnt share the same goals for your kid.
 

Smaa

New Member
Jul 16, 2022
13
41
I am not a DR and I dont have medical advice BUT this seems like a very long time to be braced. We have had a few girls with fractures and most were braced 4-6 weeks and one was not braced at all.

My kiddo was just diagnosed with 2 fractures (one on each side) and our Dr said 4-6 weeks in a brace and then 2 months of PT before a slow return for gym. A friend of mines kid had 6 weeks in a brace and 2 months of PT over summer and fall and was able to compete in the winter.

All this to say...I would make sure you have a Dr that treats gymnasts and shares your goal to get gymnasts back to the sport safely. There is one Dr in our area that no one goes to because their answer is always "quit gymnastics" and they don't do a good job of getting the kids back to the sport IF that's what they want.

Don't shop for the answer you want but do get multiple opinions if you are concerned that this Dr doesnt share the same goals for your kid.
Hi,
Are the kids o.k with their back after they come back to gymnastics?
I am afraid that if she will go back to gymnastics it will happen again…
And my girl really wants to come back if it will over…
Thanks for answering
 

PeanutsMom

Proud Parent
Jun 14, 2019
196
Hi,
Are the kids o.k with their back after they come back to gymnastics?
I am afraid that if she will go back to gymnastics it will happen again…
And my girl really wants to come back if it will over…
Thanks for answering
The answer to this really depends on what her doctors say and how she heals. My daughter has been pain free and able to come fully back while others have had more long term issues. All have some limits. Again, it depends on the prognosis for your daughter individually and only her doctor and her body can determine the extent she can do once healed.

The biggest take away we had was to not rush things. Let the body heal fully before coming back and ease back in. One event at a time then add if there is no pain. Always continue to have open dialogue with your doctors and follow up at the first sign of anything feeling "off".
 
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Smaa

New Member
Jul 16, 2022
13
41
It will take time to go back, but the doctor believe she will be able to go back. They don’t know to tell me the exact reason why it happened. And the doctor said that he can’t know if it will return…
 

MuggleMom

Proud Parent
Dec 22, 2016
782
Virginia
Of all the kids I have seen over the years at DDs gym get this injury I think 2 of 4 have come back. The 2 that did not didn't every try their parents pulled them from the sport after the diagnosis. One came back and had a very successful level 8 year and is going to level 9 this year. The other came just came back and hurt her ankle but her mom says she still has some back pain so to be honest I am not sure if she will fully return or not. My kiddo....we well she wants to try so we will know by this time next year I guess.

It definitely depends on the kid, how well they heal, how well they do in PT and if PT can identify and rectify the functionality issues that caused it in the first place so you can strengthen the right muscles and adapt the right skills to keep it from coming back. Usually its a strength issue (either core or some imbalance in the back muscles) or a flexibility issue (overly tight shoulders and hamstrings that cause you to "hinge" in a way that stresses the spine) My kiddo is probably mostly a flexibility issue. Her friend was a core strength issue...she was super bendy. Thats why PT is so crucial what worked for the other kid may not work for mine.

IF my kid gets another fracture or starts having more back pain I am pulling her out for good so she gets one shot at a comeback and she knows that. One major Back injury ...second time I pull the plug whether she wants to quit or not. Only you, your family, and your Drs can decide what the line in the sand is for you specifically and it will differ from other peoples.
 

Smaa

New Member
Jul 16, 2022
13
41
Of all the kids I have seen over the years at DDs gym get this injury I think 2 of 4 have come back. The 2 that did not didn't every try their parents pulled them from the sport after the diagnosis. One came back and had a very successful level 8 year and is going to level 9 this year. The other came just came back and hurt her ankle but her mom says she still has some back pain so to be honest I am not sure if she will fully return or not. My kiddo....we well she wants to try so we will know by this time next year I guess.

It definitely depends on the kid, how well they heal, how well they do in PT and if PT can identify and rectify the functionality issues that caused it in the first place so you can strengthen the right muscles and adapt the right skills to keep it from coming back. Usually its a strength issue (either core or some imbalance in the back muscles) or a flexibility issue (overly tight shoulders and hamstrings that cause you to "hinge" in a way that stresses the spine) My kiddo is probably mostly a flexibility issue. Her friend was a core strength issue...she was super bendy. Thats why PT is so crucial what worked for the other kid may not work for mine.

IF my kid gets another fracture or starts having more back pain I am pulling her out for good so she gets one shot at a comeback and she knows that. One major Back injury ...second time I pull the plug whether she wants to quit or not. Only you, your family, and your Drs can decide what the line in the sand is for you specifically and it will differ from other peoples.
Thank you very much! I hope she will be able to come back. I will start the pt.
Good luck and healthy for your kid
 

NutterButter

Gold Membership
Proud Parent
Jan 24, 2013
857
My DD's gym had many with back injuries during her tenure there (over 10, including my DD). The ones who successfully came back took LOTS of time to recover and did LOTS of physical therapy. There were so many back injuries because my DD's gym didn't adequately condition girls to prevent back injury. My DD was OK because she took it slow and worked with a PT with experience treating gymnasts.