Parents Stress Fractures

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Hello all -

I'm new to this forum after stumbling upon it a few months ago. I've been lurking since but would like to join in. I'm not sure if this is the best place to present this question but thought I'd start here with the parents.

I have an 11 year old DD who is competing level 7 this year. She has been participating in gymnastics since she was a preschooler. She has had her bumps and bruises along the way - flare ups with Sever's Disease and some knee pain but no significant injuries caused by gymnastics.

About two weeks ago, she began complaining of back pain. I took her to her pediatrician who thought it was likely a muscle strain but she referred her for a second opinion to an orthopedic sports medicine doctor who my dd has seen before. She was seen yesterday in his office. After examining her, he suspected a stress fracture in her back. He did not see anything in the x-ray indicating a stress fracture but the doctor in training with him thought "he might see something" so she is scheduled for an MRI tomorrow. We discussed the recuperation time for a stress fracture in her back and he said 6 months to 1 year. My daughter is devastated by this news as am I for her.

Does anyone have any experience with stress fractures in the back of your young gymnasts. I have a hard time seeing her taking so much time off and then returning to the sport. My fear is what will the next injury be or will she again fracture her back. Any advice is appreciated. My DD was supposed to compete this weekend but is out until we find out the results of the MRI a week from tomorrow.

Thanks for any input.

No experience with back injuries. We have dealt with various injuries for over a year with my 11 year old. It is very tough to tell them no gym, no meets, but we got through it and she is beginning again.

I'll cross all my fingers for her, hopefully the MRI reveals nothing.

Keep us posted. Oh and welcome out of lurkdom, it is nice to hear from you.:)
My DD is a 12 year old Level 7. Last summer we dealt with a wrist injury that was very desvistating to her. She was about to go to camp when the doctor suggested that she take a few weeks off. She was so upset about missing camp. I cannot imagine what would happen if she needed to take 6 months to a year off.

I will keep my figers crossed for you. I would also suggest getting another opinion if it is possible in your area.

Good luck!
[The doctor] suspected a stress fracture in her back. He did not see anything in the x-ray indicating a stress fracture but the doctor in training with him thought "he might see something" so she is scheduled for an MRI tomorrow. We discussed the recuperation time for a stress fracture in her back and he said 6 months to 1 year. My daughter is devastated by this news as am I for her.

I'm sorry that your daughter is injured. I have some sense of how you may be feeling, since my almost eleven year-old daughter was out for four months last year and struggled mightily to return to the sport. Like you, I wondered if my child would ever return to gymnastics, but, again like you, I was much more more worried more about the possible long-term consequences of her injury than about anything related to gymnastics.

If I recall correctly, fractures to the pars interarticularis may be somewhat difficult to see on plain films, and may be more easily detected with CT or bone scans. If a fracture is not identified, a short-term brace may still be suggested; if a fracture is seen, bracing for some months may be required. It seems that athletes in sports such as soccer may return to activity fairly quickly even using a brace, but full participation in Level 7 gymnastics may take some time.

Perhaps by the time you read this your little one will have a clean bill of health, but if you want to pm me with your email address I can send you a couple of articles that may help you to understand the kind of injury that your daughter may have suffered.

FWIW, my daughter kept active by stretching and conditioning (to the extent that it was possible) with her teammates. Although due to her injury and recovery she may be a year or so behind where she might have been in gymnastics if she had never been injured, she's again a healthy and happy girl, and she learned much more from her experience than she'd know if she hadn't been challenged.
I just wanted to thank you all for your supportive words or information about stress fractures. My dd had her MRI on Friday and we are waiting for the results. I'm hoping to hear something Monday or Tuesday.

Any more words of advice from anyone experienced with this type of injury are appreciated.

It was a tough weekend knowing her teammates were off to Wisconsin to compete in their first big away meet for the season (we are in Michigan). We got through it with a little retail therapy. DD's second love is shopping!

I'll report back when I get the report on the MRI.

I'm interested to hear what happens as my dd is suspected of having stress fractures in her lower leg area. We go tomorrow for x-rays. Please keep us up to date as to how your dd is doing and what the prognosis is. I have a friend whose dd has stress fractures in her back and she just deals with it and continues her gymnastics in pain. I didn't say anything to her but I don't think that is a wise decision for her. I say let it heal, and then work back into the sport the best way possible.
I just wanted to report back that my dd's MRI was normal and did not show any stress fractures in her back. I'm so relieved yet we still need an explanation for her back pain.

She is following up with a well known doctor around here who specializes in treating gymnasts - Dr. Nassar from Michigan State University. He will review her x-rays and MRI and do an examination. Hopefully, he can help us figure out what is going on.

that is great news. i hope they find out what is causing her back pain.

gymnomore-hope your DD doesn't have a stress fracture in her back. positive vibes that all her tests are normal.
stress fracture

Scrapntyme- Glad to hear the MRI was clean. Back pain is common in gymnasts so it could be anything. We dealt with that last year and found that taking some time off helped her tremendously. I tend to blame many gymnastics pains on overuse so time off helps, though it may hurt them as far as progress in gymnastics- but then again what's important? My dd had an x-ray yesterday but nothing showed up in her lower leg area. Doc suggested an MRI but we are not going to go that route due to our insurance coverage. So, she will finish out the season the best she can which will last another 4 weeks and then take some time off to heal if it is indeed a stress fracture.
My daughter was diagnosed with a stress fracture in her back at the age of 13. The diagnosis was done using dye that was injected into her vein, we then came back a few hours later for a scan. I can't remember the name of the test but the dye was radioactive. Apparently, stress fractures in the back can be difficult to diagnose.

The doctor gave her a choice of no gym for 4 months or gym wearing a large, rigid, custom-made back brace for 4 months. She chose the brace. The doctor said that if she was able to do an activitiy wearing the brace, then she was allowed to do it. The brace limited activity dramatically as it went from the upper leg to the lower breast bone and completely encircled her torso.

She was happy with her choice because she could still condition and participate in gym with her friends.

The doctor said that once the growth plates are closed, the chance of such stress fractures is dramatically reduced--so there's light at the end of the tunnel!

Good luck with your daughter--hopefully, the new doctor will be able to make a diagnosis quickly.

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