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So - who has recovered from a stress fracture in their back?

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gasrgoose

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We are still recovering, but she is competing 4 events. It has been long and there have been setbacks. The biggest obstacles have been patience and then regaining confidence. Both of which were expected but still difficult. With all that said she appears to be well on her way to returning to 100 % if we can keep her healthy!
 

Traci

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could you possibly provide me more details?? DD just found out she has a L5 Pars Defect (Stress Fracture).....doctor told her to start with -- 2 weeks ZERO activity. Come back for a follow up and then we'll go from there. I am worried DD will LIE about her pain - as she pretty mentioned something to that affect. (((Great....)))) DD is competing her first year at level 10....
 
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VanessaJV

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We are at the tail end of a long process. In September They found a complete break and a stress fracture at L5 along with a grade 1 slip Of her L5 onto her S1. She just got her brace off on the 17th. She is now slowly returning to gym, She does short practices of stretching, small amounts of conditioning, and her physical therapy exercises. No real gymnastics for five more weeks.
 
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Traci

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Gracious - I am sorry! I am glad she is getting better - and slowly getting back in the gym!! That is great! The doctor didn't brace DD....but did say she would possibly be out 6 weeks from DOING gymnastics. What level is you DD?
 
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Faith

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One of dd’s friends has a pars stress fracture.

One dr said rest. The other said it’s old and not to worry. She is pain free so is back training, but just doing basics. She has had no time off at all. I think she will be back to full training very soon though - she is elite senior.

I am slightly scared for the kid as i’ve read so much on here. If she goes straight back into full tumbling and it isn’t “old” and fully healed, what then? And can a stress fracture actually heal while continuing with full training as it would appear to have done.
 

flippin out

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L3 stress reaction in pars bilaterally. 3 weeks in soft shell. After 2nd week she swam laps in pool (was going stir crazy) and continued the swim for about a month. After being released from brace she did extensive PT (5 days a week for 2 months). She also started going back to gym...didn’t stay whole time (did some pt stuff there, did turns...then left to go swim). She was allowed to gradually add in things weekly. So on week 1 out of brace it was turns and jumps on tramp. Week 2 it was move jumps to floor, can do a few light tumbling on tramp, run bys on vault (nothing but literally run at it) and can swing a little bars (nothing major). Each week was “add just a littl e extra and see, if anything hurts stop it and wait another week to try that”.

All in all it was a 3 month process before she was doing everything again (like as in just added the last skill back into training again).

Now I say this, BUT not every fracture is the same. Different degrees and placement make a huge difference. My dd’s was not a fracture yet. They told me to think of it as a paper clip ...how a paper clip looks after you bend it back and forth several times and it hasn’t broken, but you can see it has a weak spot where it will snap. Does that make sense?
 

BachFlyer

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We have a friend who is level 10 and had stress fracture in level 8. She was out full for almost a year. She is back in business and doing phenomenally well. I am happy to ask for more details.
 
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VanessaJV

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Gracious - I am sorry! I am glad she is getting better - and slowly getting back in the gym!! That is great! The doctor didn't brace DD....but did say she would possibly be out 6 weeks from DOING gymnastics. What level is you DD?
She competed level 8 last season. We did not know right away she would be braced. We found out a few weeks after we initially found out about injury. She was in the brace for three months. Drs are confident she will return well and without pain.
 
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Aussie_coach

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We have had a few kids come through it. The journey is very individual. Some have recovered quickly and successfully, with no further pain again. Others have had a hard time recovering, it we have never had a kid driven from the sport because of it.

The problem with stress fractures in the back, is they are often a result of long term stress on the back, not an acute injury. This means that there is an underlying problem and if the underlying problem in not addressed then it will not heal because as soon as activity starts again, the problems will begin again.

Quite often the cause is not gymnastics at all, but posture, especially when sitting at school. The gymnastics then adds to the stress on the back, which leads to the fractures. This is so hard to deal with because every day they will continue to sit and stand with poor posture, which will continue to aggravate the problem. These kids need to do vigilant exersices to improve their posture and often wear a brace at school.

Often the problem is caused by a weakness somewhere in their body such as a lack of flexibility in their shoulders or hip flexors, meaning every time they do a bridge or walkover, there is more pressure on their lumber spine. Or a lack of strength in the glutes. These issues need to be continually addressed.

Sometimes there is an underlying cause in the body itself, such as an inborn bone abnormality, which is minor but only comes to light after years of gymnastics.

As a coach, once you have had a kid with a stress fracture in their back, you have to always be vigilent and limited arching skills.
 

Lunde

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Internationally Victoria Komova had a spinal stress fracture which caused her to stop training and not compete for almost 2 years but returned to competition last month at the Voronin Cup with watered down routines and has recently been named to the Russian Team
 
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flippin out

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The problem with stress fractures in the back, is they are often a result of long term stress on the back, not an acute injury. This means that there is an underlying problem and if the underlying problem in not addressed then it will not heal because as soon as activity starts again, the problems will begin again.
Very true. My dd’s was result of acute injury, and like I said it was stress reaction. So once it healed it was fine. There wasn’t an underlying cause that created the issue in the first place....so it wasn’t a recurrence issue. Happily it has been almost 5 years and she hasn’t had any further issues. (For reference, she was a level 9 at time of injury and is still competing)
 

CrazyCatLady

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could you possibly provide me more details?? DD just found out she has a L5 Pars Defect (Stress Fracture).....doctor told her to start with -- 2 weeks ZERO activity. Come back for a follow up and then we'll go from there. I am worried DD will LIE about her pain - as she pretty mentioned something to that affect. (((Great....)))) DD is competing her first year at level 10....
Traci, my DD is going through the same thing right now in the same spot, though hers is not technically fractured yet. She tried the "modify and don't do anything that aggravates it" route for a couple weeks with a soft brace, but it just wasn't working - there's only so much you can modify as a level 10 and actually be competition-ready.

2 weeks ago she went back to her sports doctor, (who really does get it as a former dancer and who has a gymnast for a daughter) and went into a hard brace because the doc said it was the quickest and best way to truly heal this thing. It stinks because she had three D1 schools scouting her as a freshman and now she can't compete this season but...she needs her back to be able to even compete in college, and, oh yeah...the rest of her life...kind of important. I'm following this post because I am hoping to see some success stories, too.

DD stayed out of the gym for one week and is now back doing VERY LIGHT conditioning (exercise bike, some core and upper body work, and LOTS of PT exercises) while in the hard brace. We see the doc in 4 weeks and DD will likely be cleared to do a LITTLE more, but it's 12 weeks in the hard brace and then transition into the softer brace. Doc is very confident that she will recover 100%, but DD has to be smart and NOT PUSH IT. These gymnasts...

Traci, feel free to PM me if you want to swap stories or keep in touch as our DD's progress through this. From what I gather, the girs who follow their doctors' orders TO THE TEE are the ones who make it through this successfully.
 

Traci

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Well, DD is not in a brace - which concerns me. But we saw a sports orthopedic doctor for orirignal diagnosis and then a neurosurgeon (friend) - and they both feel that a hard brace wouldn’t necessarily help it heal any faster. She was told by both the only thing to fix it is rest and time. The Orthopedic said 2 weeks ZERO activity- not even vacuuming. Lol. Go back for a follow up on Feb 6th to come up with a “plan”. Ironically, she came down with the flu and was hospitalized the very next day after learning of the back injury . She’s home now and is still not over the flu - missed a full week of school. But hey - one week of ZERO activity is done! :)
One week at a time....I guess.

Thanks y’all!
 

scanlri

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DD is on the path back hoping to compete this season. She had a combination of acute injury (L1 avulsion fracture) and stress reaction/stress fracture (L4/L5). The acute injury clued us into the stress issues.

DD was out of gym completely for 11 weeks. While we could have sent her back at 6 weeks, the Dr. said staying out until completely healed was an insurance policy for the rest of her life. She was NOT in a brace as she wasn't in gym at all and committed to the Dr. that she wouldn't do ANYTHING that she wasn't supposed to do. My guess is not having a brace slowed down her return to the gym a little but not enough to really worry about it.

As far as the stress injury being a result of underlying issue - YES. DD has been working with PT since the 6 week mark and there were several issues (shoulder mobility, thoracic mobility, hip flexors and more) that were resulting in added stress to her lower back.

DD went back to the gym at 11 weeks and did conditioning only. Being guided by PT, she has been progressing back into full up gymnastics. She was able to do quite a bit earlier without BHS (using round off into tumbling) but finally added the BHS back on floor this past week .... 5 months after injury. This sounds like a long time, but it is only 2 months after her return to gym. So far so good ... fingers crossed.

Our PT communicates with the coach weekly, guiding when skills are introduced, moved from soft to hard surface, and limiting repetition. In addition the coach has made some changes to skill selection to not stress her back as much.

Sorry for the long post... but ....we are still hopeful for her return this season, it has been a long road with quite a ways to go. We listen to her body (and Drs) and don't push it. Good luck to your DD! Please let us know how she is doing along the journey.
 

lovegymfam

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Hello...haven't posted here before, but also following for success stories. DD was dx in Dec w/ L5 spondy (based on SPECT scan only). So I guess it could either be a stress reaction or a "mild" fracture as there was only mild uptake on the scan. We go back next week for the 8 week appt. She has been in a hard brace since Dec and PT began immediately. She has had no pain during this eight weeks, doing PT only for first four and adding in conditioning/dance at gym for next four. She could be released to begin adding skills next week. Both ortho doc and PT have said "if she gets skills back and isn't in pain" they don't see why she couldn't compete after four more weeks (12 week mark). She's L7. I am worried about her going back to soon. Not sure coach will allow her to compete. DD is determined to not miss the entire season. I feel a little lost in the return to gym part of it. I have confidence in her coach and that he won't allow her to come back too quickly. And as much as I would LOVE for her to compete in March, I think I would be relieved if the coach doesn't let her. I am worried about the "underlying issue" and am fearful her pain will return. The PT has been great, but I really want her gymnastics "evaluated" to help find the problem....Ugh! This is so stressful! Not sure I have a question....maybe more of a "what would you do?" Let her compete, find a different PT to help with the return to sport part (hers doesn't have a long history of working with gymnasts)...thanks in advance!
 
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flipping_girls

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could you possibly provide me more details?? DD just found out she has a L5 Pars Defect (Stress Fracture).....doctor told her to start with -- 2 weeks ZERO activity. Come back for a follow up and then we'll go from there. I am worried DD will LIE about her pain - as she pretty mentioned something to that affect. (((Great....)))) DD is competing her first year at level 10....
We just had the same diagnosis, and was told 12 weeks zero activity. (level 9) I wonder what makes the difference between the 12 weeks.
 

gasrgoose

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My kid was in a hard brace for 8 weeks and then slowly started PT. One thing we've learned is every situation is different and every doctor will have a different answer or protocol. Nothing is for sure. We've had girls with less severe diagnoses who have missed a year or had to quit. Mine missed about 3 months of gymnastics. Another kid at our gym with the same diagnosis, from a different doctor, never quit practicing or competing but had to lose some difficulty due to pain. Some are still trying to figure out what is causing the pain. I don't know of many gymnasts who have had an x-ray or MRI on their back that doesn't show something unusual.
 

Traci

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Well, we are now on day 22 of no gymnastics and the pain has not really improved - which in all fairness - she had the flu (was hospitalized for it) and that probably didn’t help her body. We had a follow up last week with the orthopedic who said another 2 weeks of zero activity and a different anti inflammatory. Come back in another two weeks and re-evaluate, if not better may need to be braced. I am taking her to a pedicure orthopedic next week for a different opinion.... this sucks.
 
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my4buffaloes

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My dd was diagnosed with a pars stress fracture of her L5 in early November. We shut her down completely for 4 weeks doing PT a lot. PT said the brace can weaken the muscles and opted to use KT tape like a corset across her back for 3 weeks.

When she started back in early December she started very slow. Partial practices only some days mostly trampoline and PT. After 2 weeks of that she started Adding in skills very slowly starting with tramp and if it didn't hurt she could progress to the real equipment from there.

She Competed mid January with watered down stuff (level 8). She is now back almost to where she was. Hoping to compete her bhs/bhs on beam this weekend. She was pain free by late November but we have taken it very slow to make sure she stays that way.
 
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