When I was a little younger, I was in cheerleading. I cheered for my states team and loved every minute of it. But sadly, I had to stop because I not only injured my wrists a couple of times, my ankles, but I almost broke my neck doing a back handspring. It was then I decided it was time to take a much needed break from cheering. But some girls look past those injuries and continue to do such a sport. Because in all honesty, it’s fun! Here’s a list of the most common injuries found in cheerleading.
- ACL Tear: An ACL tear or torn ACL, is suffered when the ligament tears from either the end of the femur or from the top of the tibia. The ACL is one of four ligaments that help stabilize the knee joint and prevent it from moving out of place. An ACL tear is one of the most commonly seen knee injuries in sports such as football, soccer, basketball, golf, cheerleading and baseball. Initial ACL tear treatment following injury should include R.I.C.E. principles. Following a torn ACL you should utilize crutches until you are able to walk without limp. A knee brace may also help mobilize the knee to prevent additional painful symptoms.
- Broken Collarbone: A broken collarbone or clavicle fracture is the most common bone related injury suffered by individuals. The most common location of the shoulder injury is towards the middle third of the clavicle. Approximately 80% of broken collarbones occur at this loc ation, 15% occur in the lateral one third, and 5% involve towards the medial end. The treatment of a broken collarbone consists of; u sage of arm sling or brace for 4-6 weeks in adults and 3-4 weeks in children younger than age 12. After 2-3 weeks you should begin gentle shoulder exercises as pain allows, also application of ice to the site of the broken collarbone to reduce swelling and inflammation.
- Ankle Sprain: Some people believe that an ankle sprain is the most commonly seen sports injury suffered every year around the world. An ankle sprain occurs when one or more ligaments in the ankle are stretched out or possibly torn. These ligaments in the ankle help h old the bones in the ankle in place and help to provide stability in order to prevent injury. A sprained ankle is most often caused from one of two reasons: the first being a direct blow to any part of the ankle and the second cause is a result of sudden stopping or twisting of the ankle. Phase 1 of treatment should include the following; Initial phase. Follow the R.I.C.E. principles. The proper usage of NSAIDS to help alleviate any pain. the use of a brace is needed to promote soft tissue healing. Allow weight bearing as tolerated, with the use of crutches as needed. Phase 2 of treatment should include the following; Begins 2-4 weeks after injury. Continue to wear a brace during this phase. Begin exercises to increase dorsiflexion strength. Stretching of the Achilles tendon. Phase 3 of treatment should include the following; Begins 4-6 weeks after injury. Gradually working back into agility and endurance training. Continue stretching and strengthening exercises. Apply heat before exercises and use ice after exercises and use ice after exercising.
- Wrist Fracture: A wrist fracture or broken wrist is one of the most commonly seen broken bones seen every year by doctors across the world. A fractured wrist is a very common injury suffered in cheerleading, hockey and boxing. Although it is called a wrist fracture, the break actually occurs in the distal portion of the radius, which is a bone located in the forearm. In most cases this injury can be treated with the help of a brace or splint but you should seek medical attention if you suspect that you may have a broken wrist. Primary goal of treatment is to properly realign the fracture. For minimal fractures the correct brace or splint should be worn for 2-3 weeks. After wearing a brace you should be fit with a short-arm cast for 2-3 weeks. Once the cast is removed, removable brace or splint is worn for 3 weeks. Move the shoulder of the injured arm through full range of motion twice a day. Active and passive finger motion done in 5 sets 4 times a day. Proper usage of NSAIDS to help alleviate any pain. If bone is severely displaced then surgical intervention may be required.
Like I said, cheerleading is a great and fun sport, but it’s also one of the most dangerous sports out there. Always consider the pros and cons of a sport before joining. I will always have much love for cheerleading, but it’s not something I’m willing to risk my life for, anymore. If you fall or hurt yourself, don’t just ignore it. Go get it checked out and the okay from your doctor before getting back out there in the game. And with that being said, good luck and be safe!