Collisions with equipment and falls are the most common avenues to injuries when it comes to gymnastics. Floor exercises are not exempted, as ankle and wrist sprains can also occur with improper foot or hand placement. More serious injuries like concussions and broken bones are infrequent, though not uncommon. And where equipment or a bad fall is not the issue, usually overtraining leads to muscle and joint tenderness.
Staying injury free in gymnastics starts with using the proper protective gear. Grips and wrist straps are used by gymnasts to improve the hold of the immovable equipment and reduce friction that causes blisters. Where such gear is lacking, athletes are encouraged to wrap their hands with gauze or tape to protect their hands.
Choosing the kind of footwear to bring usually depends on particular events. However, if you are going to have shoes on, bring those that have reinforced toes to absorb the impact of landing. Some competitors also prefer rubber soles on their shoes, as this prevents any unnecessary sliding.
Before getting onto the floor or on any piece of equipment, warm up and stretch first. Dynamic stretching, the kind that involves slow motion and improves your range of motion, is encouraged.
Bethany Kludt is a former gymnast who started training at the age of three. By the 4th grade, she was already on her school's cheering team and practiced the sport until high school.