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For Parents Question about Tiger Paws

novagymmom

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Another thread on here got me curious about Tiger Paws. My daughter is a L9 and several of the other 8/9/10 girls have them, but I certainly wouldn't say the majority. From reading the other thread, I started thinking that perhaps it would make sense to wear them proactively (to reduce pressure/hyperextension and avoid future wrist issues). My daughter is 13 and still growing.

When I mentioned asking the coaches about this, she said that they will say no. They don't like putting anyone that isn't having wrist pain or issues into tiger paws because it can cause issues with . . . (she wasn't sure if it was elbows or shoulders - my guess might be elbows as a few girls from the gym have had to have elbow surgery over the years). I tried to do some research on this but didn't come up with anything. I also plan to ask the coaches their perspective / rationale (as I know I'm playing a game of telephone relying on my daughter's messaging).

But, I just thought I'd reach out to this community to see if this is something that anyone else has heard about. Thanks!
 

raenndrops

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If you wait until there are wrist issues, it might be too late.
And as for elbow injuries: 1. Has been disproven as stated above, and 2. The only girl in our gym that has had elbow problems was a L8 that did NOT use tiger paws (didn't hurt it at gym either time, but at cheer) ... and she has had 2 elbow surgeries.
 
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MuggleMom

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Anticdotally, pretty much every girl level 6 and up in our gym have them. My DD said her wrist hurt a little once after starting Yuerchenko timers and we mentioned to the coach who just said get Tiger Paws. So it wasn't a chronic pain issue they just seem to expect all the girls will get them around that level. My DD uses them on floor and vault she doesnt like using them on beam. I think every girl above level 7 at our gym has them and we only had one elbow injury I have seen (and I dont even know what the injury was so cant say it had any relation to tiger paws) Thats over the last 5 years we have been there elbows have not been an issue for any or our optionals.
 
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mom2newgymnast

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Our gym is similar to your, @novagymmom. Many of our optional gymnasts wear tiger paws, but it is not like how some gyms seem to require them. If a gymnast needs them or wants to wear them, then they do. My daughter is 12 and level 9 and she has never worn them. She's also been pretty lucky (knock on wood!) that she has not had any of the typical conditions that many gymnasts seem to go through because of growing or overuse. No severs or osgood or gymnast wrist or anything. I imagine it is mostly just luck, but she also doesn't do huge hours (she's at 20 a week now and will stay there for years probably). I also wonder if it helps that she has had a very controlled and steady progression in the sport? I don't know if that matters, but she hasn't skipped levels and all of her skills have progressed very linearly. I asked her today if her coaches have ever mentioned getting them and she said no and that she doesn't want them unless she needs them. She's a little OCD about her gymnastics and doesn't like introducing change to how she does things, if that makes sense..
 

ldw4mlo

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I posted on the other thread but I will say it here as well. JMO I feel strongly about this and a very direct person.... Others will have different opinions from mine.

Mine had wrist issues. I heard about tiger paws. Many pointed out, including her doc that wrists don't typically the pounding of body weight like they do in gymnastics. She got them along with typical standard of care.

My daughter was not happy about it. There is a break in period as you are now doing skills with them on and that takes time to adjust to and can be frustrating. Her coach was not happy about and thought it was overkill. The coach is not my child's parent, I am. I had many conversations and it came down to a crystal clear statement. My daughter wishes to be here and do gymnastics and if you want her to keep coming here it will be in tiger paws for beam, floor and vault or she is done. Coach made peace with the tiger paws.

I understand the coach knows more about gymnastics then I. But her doctor knows more about wrists then the coach. Based on advice here and discussion with the orthopedic and the PT, as her parent I have final say. My kid is going to have her wrists for the rest of her life. Her gymnastics will likely be done by the time she is done with college if not much sooner.

This was 4 years ago. My daughter has long since adjusted to doing gymnastics in tiger paws. The coach has long since adjusted to the fact that she wears tiger paws. In fact many other kids now also wear tiger paws in our gym. There have been no elbow or shoulder issues due to tiger paws. And as coaches are not medical people I'm never inclined to take their opinion into account on medically related issues without actually consulting medically trained folks. I see many high level gymnasts at the college and Olympic level in them.

Had I known about wrist supports earlier she would of been in tiger paws the summer after L3.

Would she of had the wrist issue any how? Perhaps. And tiger paws don't hurt.

Everyone makes the best decision for the their child and family. That's the story on how I came to my decision.
 

gymgal

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dd has been wearing them since she was 8yrs old, after a wrist fracture. She wore only one for a short while but then transitioned to both wrists, only for floor. Around level 7, she started wearing them for vt and had a different type of brace for beam as well. Her coaches. PTs and orthos were always of the mindset that it was better to take the preventative measures, especially since she had an injury so young. Frankly, I was the one who needed convincing because I had read so much on CB and other forums saying how bad they are - they weaken the wrist, etc. Glad I went with the expert's recommendations. Now, if we had something comparable for the ankles, it would be a completely different ball game - too many ankle injuries to count and at least one ankle was perpetually wrapped from L7 on.
 

LJL07

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Ohhh, I would get wrist guards, and that is dated information if the coach believes that the wrist guards are harmful. I'll tell you what: we were at a gym about three years ago, and the head coach was insistent that Tiger paws "weaken wrists." Welllll, every single child transitioning to level 8 between the ages of 10 and 12 were out one after the other with stress fractures in the wrist and "gymnast wrist." To be fair, that coach totally overdid vault repetitions, but still. We held off on getting Tiger paws for my youngest daughter (age 10) until recently, and she was just diagnosed with "gymnast wrists." Wish I had gotten the Tiger Paws sooner. It is certainly true that gymnast wrist can develop even with wrist guards, but I really don't think it is harmful to use them.
 

ldw4mlo

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I have say the if you wear them it will “weaken” the wrist thing bristles me.

It’s has always struck me as folks saying that are trying insinuating it’s somehow cheating on or being unwilling to do the training.
 
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gymjunkie

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Besides the outdated thinking that wearing wrist guards pushes injury up the chain to the elbows and shoulders (same has been incorrectly stated for ankle braces), some coaches will also claim that it's better to just strengthen the wrists. They disagree with bracing as a "substitute for strengthening." The truth is, you need both. You need to strengthen the wrists (and ankles), but you do need prevention in place if you plan to stay in the sport for the long-haul or if you would like to have full use of your wrists as an adult. If you are philosophically against TPs, you should also be against padded beams and mats. I am also in favor of ankle bracing for most high level kids. Studies show that an ASO brace decreases sprains by over 75% in athletes (with no increase in knee of hip injury). Wearing an ASO brace does not prevent an athlete from doing ankle strengthening exercises -- it just keeps them from getting hurt!!! At one gym I worked at, they had a no TP rule. They claimed to parents that TPs and ankle braces were a crutch that "some gyms" used instead of proper wrist and ankle strengthening. That made them sound good to the parents, and made the other gyms sounds like they had bad coaches. Behind the scenes, I knew for a fact the real reason was the floor coach was an old-school judge who "did not like how they looked." She and I did not get along at all, because I would send the kids to an orthopedic doctor who would write that the TP/brace was medically necessary for practice. Another reason coaches don't like them preventively is they simply don't want the kid to have an excuse to go to their locker to get them. They probably aren't going to tell you this.
 

raenndrops

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dd has been wearing them since she was 8yrs old, after a wrist fracture. She wore only one for a short while but then transitioned to both wrists, only for floor. Around level 7, she started wearing them for vt and had a different type of brace for beam as well. Her coaches. PTs and orthos were always of the mindset that it was better to take the preventative measures, especially since she had an injury so young. Frankly, I was the one who needed convincing because I had read so much on CB and other forums saying how bad they are - they weaken the wrist, etc. Glad I went with the expert's recommendations. Now, if we had something comparable for the ankles, it would be a completely different ball game - too many ankle injuries to count and at least one ankle was perpetually wrapped from L7 on.
YG was given an ankle brace by the ortho after her first sprain. She was told to wear it whenever she is doing anything active that isn't in the water ... and that means she has to wear it whenever she is going anywhere because she never knows if she will need to run.
 
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gymjunkie

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Our gym is similar to your, @novagymmom. Many of our optional gymnasts wear tiger paws, but it is not like how some gyms seem to require them. If a gymnast needs them or wants to wear them, then they do. My daughter is 12 and level 9 and she has never worn them. She's also been pretty lucky (knock on wood!) that she has not had any of the typical conditions that many gymnasts seem to go through because of growing or overuse. No severs or osgood or gymnast wrist or anything. I imagine it is mostly just luck, but she also doesn't do huge hours (she's at 20 a week now and will stay there for years probably). I also wonder if it helps that she has had a very controlled and steady progression in the sport? I don't know if that matters, but she hasn't skipped levels and all of her skills have progressed very linearly. I asked her today if her coaches have ever mentioned getting them and she said no and that she doesn't want them unless she needs them. She's a little OCD about her gymnastics and doesn't like introducing change to how she does things, if that makes sense..
I'm not being critical of you, but I will just share that as a mom-coach, I made my daughter wear them (as well as numerous other types of protective gear, including a mouth guard for release moves). I have also insisted my gymnasts wear them. I am a former gymnast prior to their invention. I did not ever suffer any wrist injuries as a gymnast, yet my wrists are now pretty useless. When I climb onto a spotting block, I have to use my elbows to get up because my wrists cannot support my weight. I often now wear TP myself if I want to do push-ups or anything that passes through a handstand. Otherwise it's impossible. I would not expect a parent to know this, and sadly too many coaches choose to stay ignorant about sports medicine.
 
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gymjunkie

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dd has been wearing them since she was 8yrs old, after a wrist fracture. She wore only one for a short while but then transitioned to both wrists, only for floor. Around level 7, she started wearing them for vt and had a different type of brace for beam as well. Her coaches. PTs and orthos were always of the mindset that it was better to take the preventative measures, especially since she had an injury so young. Frankly, I was the one who needed convincing because I had read so much on CB and other forums saying how bad they are - they weaken the wrist, etc. Glad I went with the expert's recommendations. Now, if we had something comparable for the ankles, it would be a completely different ball game - too many ankle injuries to count and at least one ankle was perpetually wrapped from L7 on.
ASO ankle braces are the ones the professional athletes wear. I recommend the EVO speed lacer for gymnasts. Ankle taping is good for about 20 minutes. After that the tape loosens and it does not provide enough support. Taping is good for competition, but it should be re-taped as needed throughout the competition.
 

gymjunkie

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I understand the coach knows more about gymnastics then I. But her doctor knows more about wrists then the coach.
Amen to that -- provided that you go to an orthopedic doctor or sports med (or a good PT). I used to feel that it was important that all teams had a team physician and PT, but it's hard to say that anymore in light of Larry Nassar. We still have one of each, but we do not have any such rules that you can only see those doctors. Pediatricians and PCPs are not usually very helpful and often just prescribe "take 3 weeks off" or "take advil as needed."
 

M2Abi

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We use Tiger Paws. The minute my daughter said her wrists hurt, I immediately ordered them. This was Level 7 for her. Probably a better idea to wear them before the wrists start hurting, though.
 

ldw4mlo

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Amen to that -- provided that you go to an orthopedic doctor or sports med (or a good PT). I used to feel that it was important that all teams had a team physician and PT, but it's hard to say that anymore in light of Larry Nassar. We still have one of each, but we do not have any such rules that you can only see those doctors. Pediatricians and PCPs are not usually very helpful and often just prescribe "take 3 weeks off" or "take advil as needed."
Yes I should of qualified. We have a very good orthopedic doc. They understands and sports and gymnastics.

To note; just because our coach recommended him doesn't mean I blindly follow their recommendation. I did my own research as well, get to know the doc. Any red flag I'd be off.

We already changed ortho service once. That service changed PAs and new PA wanted my kid in a high boot (bent knee kind of boot) on crutches, completely non weight bearing for 3 weeks. With nothing on the Xray. I literally went from one practice to the next (upon a respected recommendation) as an urgent visit. New doc had her in a low boot. She went to practice conditioned. Did bars in 2 weeks she was out of the boot. It was a sprain. Been there ever since.
 

novagymmom

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Thanks for all the feedback. I appreciate hearing people's individual experiences. A few of you have said that any link to elbow injuries has been disproven. Can anyone point me to such evidence? (Just trying to educate myself beyond anecdotal experiences because I know our coach has anecdotal experience the other way.) I will add that if I were to say we want my daughter wearing them, our coach would not push back. I'm just trying to educate myself as I do typically trust our coach when it comes to injury prevention. She is VERY conservative when it comes to that. (Which I usually appreciate . . . it admittedly drove both my daughter and I a little crazy when it took over three months for the girls to be allowed to tumble on the floor, do a backhandspring on beam, or a timer on the vault (without a mat on top to protect wrists from impact). But, they are finally back to normal now and I know that the intent was to protect the girls from injury. So I appreciate that culture in our gym.)

We might be heading to the doctor next week if my daughter's foot is still bothering her. If so, will definitely be asking about this too. Thanks so much for the food for thought!
 
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JBS

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These types of threads are all over this site... as a head coach... here is how our program runs. Please understand that I am not calling anyone "wrong".

Question: If wrists are sore or painful... then what does your club do?
Answer: Rest. 100% of the time the athlete stops everything that is hurting the wrist(s). We have many activities that we have designed for athletes to do that does not involve their wrists.

Question: If an athlete has sore or painful wrists do you put them in Tiger Paws?
Answer: No... we have them rest until they have no pain.

Question: When does your club put athletes in Tiger Paws?
Answer: We put all athletes in Tiger Paws for Yurchenko style vaulting. All of our athletes work multiple styles of vaults and all of them train Yurchenkos. This means that all of our upper level athletes have Tiger Paws and wear them on vault. We do this as a preventative measure... meaning... they get them before the soreness or pain begins.

Question: Why do you put your athletes in Tiger Paws for Yurchenko style vaults?
Answer: This is where we keep noticing the "soreness" or "pain" is coming from.

Question: Can your athletes wear Tiger Paws on events besides vault?
Answer: We have no rules regarding this... however... we currently have no athletes that wear them on any other events.

Question: What else does your club do for wrist overuse injury prevention?
Answer: We do a few very simple things that I will list below...

#1... We NEVER teach "t-hands" or "car in the garage hands" for a roundoff. In the following video... we DO NOT put our hands like this. It causes extreme bending of the second wrist. We place both of our hands sideways like the first one. Due to the fact that we are not teaching this strange hand position... we get more natural movements on our roundoffs. If you teach this "t-hand" method and your athlete has wide hands... you will destroy the second wrist. This is extremely important on Tsuk style vaulting as well. We do not teach the second hand to point back down the runway with the fingers... in fact... in a developed and strong athlete... we will turn both of their hands out.



#2... We do the mens national team style wrist warm up and strength every day.

Watch the whole video... but #7 were I started the video is the end result...



#3... We focus on 1 out of 1. If you try 1,000,000 presses and fail at all of them... then you will still not be any stronger. We focus on 1 out of 1 up to 10 in a row for presses. This means that an athlete that cannot do a press has a better chance of getting the press if they are spotted on 1 press per day. Trying and failing at 1,000,000 does not do much for strength and it definitely makes the wrists sore. This mentality does not just go for presses... we clearly define when an athlete needs more "practice" and just needs more numbers to figure it out vs. when they should be "hitting". If they should be "hitting"... they have a limited number of attempts to get as many successes as possible. For example... if they are on beam and they have a back walkover in their routine... they will get no more than 2 warm ups and 3 full routines. At 5 attempts they will not longer be allowed to try more back walkovers that day... regardless of successes.

#4... Almost all of our body line word for handstand shaping is done either on the floor while laying down... or on a bar with "knuckles down". And always with the thumbs around the bar to put the wrists in a straighter position.

My daughter was little here... but you get the idea. Wrists should be straight and not bent at 90 degrees.

IMG_4202.JPG
 

Geoffrey Taucer

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If I were still coaching (and if I were head of my program), I would recommend tiger paws to any athlete over level 7 (whether their wrists are hurting or not) for tumbling and vault.

It's been about 4 million years since our wrists actually had to carry a significant amount of our body weight, and there has NEVER been a time when wrists were adapted to carry our entire body weight (let alone handle impacts with that weight). When we do gymnastics, we are asking the wrists to handle something they are not well-adapted to handle, and I think it is reasonable to do whatever we can to protect them.

Prehab exercises are also very important, and should not be neglected, but no amount of prehab will change the fact that our wrists simply aren't well-adapted to tumbling and vaulting.

There's a common notion that using tiger paws somehow weakens the wrists, but I am aware of no evidence to support this. Obviously the wrists won't inherently build as much strength tumbling with tiger paws as they would without, but any lack of sufficient strength can easily be addressed with a solid conditioning program. Avoiding tiger paws for fear of losing wrist strength makes about as much sense to me as avoiding grips for fear of losing hand strength.
 
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