gymnastics rings at the gym

Common Gymnastic Wrist Injuries: A Dorsal Wrist Impingement

Gymnastics is a wonderful sport that really challenges your body and your reflexes. Unfortunately, it also challenges your joints, especially your knee and wrist joints. As a result, gymnasts often suffer from a dorsal wrist impingement. Learning how to diagnose and treat this wrist injury can help you or your gymnast children from falling victim to this injury.

The Injury

A dorsal wrist impingement is an injury that occurs due to the repetitive straightening and extension of the wrist joint combined with putting weight on the joint. It causes an excessive amount of pain and a difficulty moving the wrist. When it occurs, it creates an immediate feeling of pain and tenderness, but the problem with this injury is that the pain often goes away temporarily.

As a result, the gymnast often thinks they have suffered from a minor twist or sprain and will start performing. This will only be exasperate their injury.


Why Gymnasts Suffer From This Problem

The reason this condition is so common in gymnasts is simple: many perform events that require them to put weight on their wrist joints. For example, a floor routine may require jumping in the air, flipping on their hands (transferring weight to the wrist), and spinning in the air.

As a result, many gymnasts are impacted by this problem. And it’s not just young ones, either: even skilled professional gymnasts fall victim to this injury.

Diagnosing This Problem

The worst part about this injury is how hard it is to diagnose. It can’t be seen on an x-ray and it can be easily confused with other wrist problems. The only way that a doctor can diagnose it is to consider your case history (such as if you’ve ever suffered from this injury before) and by noting the areas of the wrist affected by the pain.

Generally, it causes pain on the back of the wrist and moving your wrist should make it feel tender. Your doctor will also take into account when the injury occurred. For example, if it occurred during a gymnastic event, he is more likely to diagnose it.

Treating A Minor Problem

If your doctor believes you are suffering from this condition, you are likely to receive corticosteroid injections. These help relieve the inflammation and may relieve pain for weeks after the injection. It’s important to rest and ice the injury for several months after it occurs to keep it from becoming more serious.

Surgery May Be Required

Unfortunately, if you don’t receive injections and perform gymnastics on an injured wrist, you are putting yourself at serious risk of exasperating the injury. Even if you haven’t performed on your injured wrist, the problem may still be severe enough to require surgery. This surgery helps repair the muscles and eliminates pain.

Afterward, you’ll need to perform range of motion exercises regularly to promote strength in your wrists. After surgery, it often takes six weeks to three months for your wrist to be back to its normal strength.

When You Can Get Back Into Gymnastics

While it’s possible that you may be able to perform gymnastics after your three-month recovery period has passed, it’s best to wait another month or two. That extra time will give your muscles the chance to fully recover from injury.

While recovering, make sure to put a little weight on your wrist from time to time and to perform range-of-motion exercises. That will help promote a successful healing period that will hopefully get you back on the gymnast mat as soon as possible.

While a dorsal wrist impingement is a serious injury, it can be treated successfully. To learn more about how this injury can impact your gymnastics career, please contact us today.