“Sis, boom, bah! …Two bits, four bits, six bits a dollar, all for our school stand up and holler!”
Cheerleading is a longstanding tradition at many sporting events. But there has been a significant rise in injuries as the routines have become more complicated and risky.
Competitive cheerleading involves a great deal of tumbling and stunting activities where one cheerleader is supported by one or more other cheerleaders.
The repetitive tumbling routines place a great deal of pressure on the spine and can result in stress fractures. Other vulnerable parts of the body include growth plates at the wrist, elbow, knee and ankle that can be traumatized with repetitive stress. Landing from jumps in awkward positions often stresses the ligaments of the knee and ankle to the point of failure. The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), a main stabilizer of the knee, is particularly at risk for strain when landing short or in an off-balance position.
Experts recommend these tips to reduce the risk of injury:
- Stretch the muscles of the upper and lower extremity, including the back, before and after activity. Hold all stretches a minimum of 30 seconds and repeat 2-3 times each.
- When landing from jumps, be sure to land in the athletic position. The hips and legs must be used as shock absorbers. Keep the shoulders over the knees, the knees over the toes and don’t let the knees collapse in toward each other.
- Balance training should include stationary and dynamic activities that progress a little at a time. Balance exercises should begin on a stable surface such as the floor and progress to unstable surfaces such as the mat.
- The core is the link in the chain that connects the arms and the legs. If the core is weak, injuries are more likely. The core includes the abdominal, back and hip muscles. Core exercises should be done on a daily basis.
- Repetitive tumbling activities must be done in intervals, followed with rest. These should not be done every day.
Our sports medicine experts at Signature Medical Group know how to treat cheerleading injuries and we’ll help keep you in the best shape to perform those difficult routines.
Our commitment to continuing education assures you treatment with the most recent knowledge, techniques and technology for the highest quality of care. Our physicians and staff understand the importance of communication. We encourage our patients to ask questions to fully comprehend their condition/injury and the treatment options available to them. Request an appointment with one of our sports medicine doctors today.