Saturday, January 14, 2012

Gymnastic Risks After ACL Recovery

Tears of the anterior cruciate ligament, which is situated inside your knee joint, are common in sports requiring sudden stops and directional changes such as basketball, football, soccer, volleyball and gymnastics. Reconstructive surgery is recommended for gymnasts wishing to return to full participation, according to the STOP Sports Injuries campaign initiated by the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine. Returning to gymnastics, after optimal surgical outcomes, is likely, but not 100 percent guaranteed.
Gymnasts can injure their ACL when landing "short." Over-rotating when dismounting, vaulting or tumbling are other common causes for anterior cruciate ligament tears. You might hear a popping sound at the time of impact, followed by swelling of the knee within hours. An MRI likely is required to confirm ACL injuries, followed by reconstruction.
Failure to reconstruct ACL tears can result in damage to the meniscus and articular cartilage, continuous bouts of instability and could speed up progression of osteoarthritis, according to research published in "Journal of Sports Science and Medicine" in 2002. Researchers specify reconstruction is highly successful for young, healthy, active individuals, including high performance athletes such as gymnasts. Long-term success after surgical intervention is between 82 percent to 95 percent, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. However, young athletes risk growth plate injury, which could lead to bone growth problems after surgery.
Typically, gymnasts are able to return to the sport six months after surgery, according to orthopedic surgeon Scott E. Urch. Some or Urch's patients have been able to return to lower-level activities after as little as two months. Rehabilitation involves returning to a full symmetrical range of motion, elimination of excess fluids and regained symmetrical strength in both leg's quadriceps muscles. Athletes are able to begin "functional progression" as soon as it feels comfortable.
After ACL reconstruction, gymnasts can reduce the risk of re-injury by following proper gymnastic training guidelines. Wear safety gear or other special equipment, stop participation if you experience pain, inspect equipment to ensure its good condition, use safety harnesses while learning new routines, use a spotter while learning new skills and warm up muscles with a few minutes of light aerobic activity before training or competing.

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