Three Things Parents Of Gymnasts Need To Know About Sprained Ankles

Gymnastics is a popular sport, but young gymnasts can experience a variety of injuries because of their favorite sport. Sprained ankles are one of the injuries your child may suffer during practice. Here are three things you need to know about young gymnasts and sprained ankles.

How do sprained ankles occur in gymnastics?

There are many ways that your child can sprain their ankle during gymnastics. Usually, these injuries happen during floor routines. While practicing their flips or cartwheels, your child could land badly and roll their ankle outwards. This motion allows the ligaments within the ankle to stretch, and if they stretch far enough, they could even tear.

Ankle sprains can also happen during falls, and as you know, falls happen a lot in gymnastics. While gyms use mats to protect children from injuries, falls from the high parallel bars or from balance beams can lead to a sprained ankle. The cushioned mats won't keep your child's ankle from rolling outwards if they land poorly.

What are the symptoms of sprained ankles?

If your child sprains their ankle, they'll complain that their ankle hurts, especially when they try to put weight on it. They may tell you that they felt a pop from within their ankle after a bad landing or a fall.

You'll see that the injured ankle is swollen, and while bruising may be present, this doesn't always occur. They also may not be able to flex their ankle normally.

How are sprained ankles treated?

Sprained ankles are treated with conservative methods to control the swelling and pain. Your child will need to apply ice to their ankle and avoid putting their weight on it. Compressing the injured ankle can also help to limit the swelling, as can elevating it. If necessary, painkillers can be used to help your child's ankle feel better. Their doctor may recommend using either over-the-counter oral painkillers or a prescription pain-relief cream.

Your child's doctor may recommend seeing a physiotherapist. Physiotherapy can be used to help your child regain strength and range-of-motion in their injured ankle. The total rehabilitation time can vary from as little as two weeks to as long as 12 weeks, depending on how severely sprained their ankle is. Their physiotherapist will assess their progress and let you know when they've recovered sufficiently to return to gymnastics.

If your child has sprained their ankle during gymnastics practice, take them to an urgent care clinic right away for treatment.