Injuries in gymnastics are common, especially in the ankle region. Pathologic range of motion (ROM) is one of the risk factors for injuries. Decreased ROM is often seen clinically in gymnasts but there is lack of scientific studies regarding changes in gymnasts’ ankles ROM and its correlation to ankle injuries.
The aim of our study was to determine the ankles ROM among Slovenian gymnasts according to existing normative values, to calculate the incidence of ankle injury and to find the potential correlation of ankle ROM with its injury rate.
Our study group was represented from all members of Slovenian gymnastics national team (N = 68). 18 of them competed in men’s artistic gymnastics (MAG), 27 in women’s artistic gymnastics (WAG), and 23 in rhythmic gymnastics (RG). They all filled in a questionnaire regarding personal data, sports history and previous injuries. They were followed for a year and all their new injuries were recorded. Descriptive statistics was used for ROMs presentation and Pearson correlation coefficient was used to calculate the correlations between ROMs and injury rates. P value < 0,05 was considered statistically significant.
Results of our study show that the range of plantar and dorsal flexion deviate from the normative values in RG, but not in WAG and MAG. Athletes exceed the normative values in active plantar flexion for 29.5% or 20,1° but do not reach the normative values in active dorsal flexion for 38% or 13,5°. The incidence of ankle injuries is 20.59 injuries per 100 athletes per year (AY). The highest incidence of ankle injury is in WAG (29.63/100AY), followed by MAG (16.67/100AY) and RG (13,04/100AY). There was no statistically significant correlation found between ankle ROM and ankle injury rate.
We proved that gymnast do have changes in ankle ROM and that the ankle injury rate in this specific group is relatively high (with highest number in WAG), but the correlation between changes in ankle ROM and injury risk was not proven. Further studies should be done to find out the risk factors and to apply specific preventive measurements to lower the injury rate.
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