Gymnast wrist - what's next?

Jessleemom

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My daughter is training level 4 and 10 years old. We've been fighting gymnast wrist since September of last year.

The first time she was casted/then braced. She took about 6 weeks off then worked on a slow return to full activity with a physical therapist.

Pain returned about 2 months after that in the opposite wrist. She was braced and took 8 weeks off. We were working on her slow return again when coronavirus gave her another 12 weeks to rest and recover. I was hoping that extra time would allow her to get beyond this injury.

We've been back in the gym for about a month. Things have been going really well. But....yesterday she came home from practice and said she's having wrist pain again. She tapes for every event and uses tiger paws for vault and floor.

Last time we went through this she did tell me if it happened again she was going to quit. That she does gymnastics because she loves doing gymnastics but what's the point if she keeps having to take time off and can't actually DO gymnastics.

Is this a permanent thing? I was under the impression that it would eventually go away with rest and proper treatment but it's been almost a year and here we are again. Have any of your daughters or daughter's teammates ever dealt with it for this long? Do we have any other options for treatment or should she just move on and pick a new sport? She's young and only training 12 hours a week so it does not bode well for the future/higher levels/longer hours/bigger growth spurts. :(
 
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xxStumpyxx

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My daughter is 13, she injured his wrist last November, x rays showed no fracture, she had pain in her wrist for a while after and ended up having physio, we had one physio session then covid 19 hit and her physio was cancelled, her gym closed March due to covid 19 and she has been resting it. Today she took part in a zoom class and felt pain in her wrist again, it was a conditioning class so should not have been to strenuous on her wrist.

The original injury happened in the gym doing a back handspring. My daughter isn’t a high level gymnast and back handsprings are the hardest tumbling skill she can do even though she isn’t confident.

I am hoping the discomfort is aching muscles as the original injury should have healed by now as it’s been 8 months since it happened. Like your daughter she loved gym and doesn’t want to quit over this.
 

Aussie_coach

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I find gymnasts wrist tends to happen, and reoccur when a gymnast has a tendency to turn her hands out (even only slightly) on skills like handstands, back handsprings etc. This causes problems with the ulna and radius bones, you can work hard to cure the paid but if they continue to train like that it will continue to happen. Does she have this habit?
 

xxStumpyxx

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I find gymnasts wrist tends to happen, and reoccur when a gymnast has a tendency to turn her hands out (even only slightly) on skills like handstands, back handsprings etc. This causes problems with the ulna and radius bones, you can work hard to cure the paid but if they continue to train like that it will continue to happen. Does she have this habit?
I am not the original poster but I am sure that my daughter has had issues with turning her hands out when doing backwards skills like walkovers, training back handsprings on the trampoline as I have seen her coach gesture to her to not turn her hands. Is there anything that can be done about this ?
 

kendo348

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I’ve been wondering if turning out the hands is a way of compensating for a weakness? I have no idea which weakness it would be, but if it were then maybe strengthening the weak area could help alter the habit? My daughter turns her hands out when she does presses. I tell her to keep them straight forward as if she were on a beam, but she says it’s easier if she turns them out.
 

Aussie_coach

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That’s how the problems develop. The problem is that this condition develops very slowly and subtly over time. Turning the wrists out, can cause the ulna and radius to seperate. But the kids won’t feel any pain, until years later when the pressure has built up the problem over time (and the habits have become very hard to break).

We tell them it’s a problem, but they don’t always take it seriously because they feel that if it doesn’t hurt, then it can’t really be that bad.
 

Jessleemom

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I find gymnasts wrist tends to happen, and reoccur when a gymnast has a tendency to turn her hands out (even only slightly) on skills like handstands, back handsprings etc. This causes problems with the ulna and radius bones, you can work hard to cure the paid but if they continue to train like that it will continue to happen. Does she have this habit?
To be honest, I'm not sure. Before coronavirus we only saw about the last 10 minutes of practice. Now parents don't even go inside. She used to do a lot of gymnastics at home but since the gymnast wrist began she stopped almost all at home handstands/tumbling/etc. I'll ask her to do a couple handstands today and see what her hand position looks like. She did rec for 2-3 years and just moved to JO level 3 in June of last year. I wonder if the time in rec really cemented some bad habits?
 

Jessleemom

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To be honest, I'm not sure. Before coronavirus we only saw about the last 10 minutes of practice. Now parents don't even go inside. She used to do a lot of gymnastics at home but since the gymnast wrist began she stopped almost all at home handstands/tumbling/etc. I'll ask her to do a couple handstands today and see what her hand position looks like. She did rec for 2-3 years and just moved to JO level 3 in June of last year. I wonder if the time in rec really cemented some bad habits?
I asked her about it and she says she definitely used to do that (turn her hands out) but she has corrected it with her coach and she keeps them straight now. Maybe I should ask coach about it.

One thing I forgot to mention was that the orthopedic doc says she does have slight shortness of one of the bones in her wrists. He thinks its congenital because it's the exact same in each wrist. I wonder if that could be the cause of the same in and of itself?
 

Aussie_coach

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Yes, I have a gymnast with the same problem, they also believe it was inborn, but it didn’t cause a problem until about 18 months ago. Unfortunately for her the pain never improved and she has been training 1 handed and no handed for 18 months, they have said she has two options, either stop gymnastics or have surgery to shave back one of the bones. She doesn’t want either option so we just adjust her training program and focus on no handed tumbling, leaps, jumps, turns, beam, trampoline etc. I am not a doctor, and I do not know if there are other options available that this doctor is not aware of, so please don’t take mine as medical advice, just sharing what others have experienced.
 
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Jessleemom

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We went for a second opinion today with a sports medicine physician. He doesn't think she needs to be casted/braced and he suggested a more gymnast driven approach. Stop weight bearing activity when she's experiencing pain, resume slowly when she's pain free, limit reps and stay away from any unnecessary weight bearing pretty much forever (or until her growth plates close). Sounds like we're in this for the long haul if she keeps doing gym.

I think she should start by talking to some upper level gymnasts in her gym that have been through this injury and found a way to work around it/keep going, since that's what she says she wants to do. I also think a meeting with coaches is in order to talk about the reality of a chronic injury and what that means for her training. What I'd really like her to do is take some time off, try some other sports and maybe do Xcel if she decides she still wants to compete in gymnastics.
 

Jessleemom

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Just an update....she is quitting gym, for now.

We did get a second opinion. Same as the first opinion. She needs to rest and heal. Then she can return but it may come back. And it may keep coming back until her growth plates close. She's 10 and has been growing A LOT in the last year but at 4'5", clearly she's not done yet.

We helped her make up her mind as she was very indecisive. She hasn't been to the gym this week and doesn't seem too broke up about it. That may change as the weeks go on. Who knows? She wants to try a couple other sports/activities. We are meeting with a dance studio next week. Due to the uncertainty of the competitive season this year, her JO team has told us they will take her back if she changes her mind in the next few months. I also confirmed with the Xcel coach that they'd be happy to have her, no matter how long its been, if she ever decides to come back. So she has options. Shes so athletic and competitive, I know she'll be great at whatever she does.
 

ldw4mlo

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Tiger Paws. My daughter had wrist issues at the end of her level 4 season. That was 4 years ago. Once healed she has been in Tiger Paws

Folks can talk about wrist strengthing things, proper form. All 100 percent valid.

AND wrists are not meant to take that kind of pounding.

A support product is available. She wears them for floor, beam and vault. My only regret we didn’t get them before her wrist problem started.
 
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Jessleemom

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Tiger Paws. My daughter had wrist issues at the end of her level 4 season. That was 4 years ago. Once healed she has been in Tiger Paws

Folks can talk about wrist strengthing things, proper form. All 100 percent valid.

AND wrists are not meant to take that kind of pounding.

A support product is available. She wears them for floor, beam and vault. My only regret we didn’t get them before her wrist problem started.
Shes been taping and wearing tiger paws since it first happened last year. Unfortunately it doesn't seem to help much for her. :(
 
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raenndrops

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Shes been taping and wearing tiger paws since it first happened last year. Unfortunately it doesn't seem to help much for her. :(
Which inserts does she have in her tiger paws? YG started out with only the "foam" inserts ... that she upgraded to adding the thin plastic ones. Now, she has found that they help her more if she uses the wide plastic inserts.
 

Jessleemom

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Did she actually heal first or just go into tigger paws?
She was casted for 3 weeks and then braced for 4 weeks and then did a slow return. She started using the tiger paws when she was back to actually tumbling/vaulting. She's been taping and using them religiously ever since. She only uses the foam inserts. If she decides to go back I'll have her try some of the other inserts that came with them.
 
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