Compared with other sports, cheerleading carries a relatively low risk of injury. Most injuries can be attributed to lack of experience, inadequate conditioning, insufficient supervision and inappropriate surfaces and equipment.
The majority of injuries are overuse injuries. Many cheerleaders participate year-round, which does not allow adequate time for recuperation or conditioning. Other injuries may result from collisions with teammates or improper stunting.
Common Cheerleading Injuries
- Plantar fasciitis is inflammation of the arch tendon in the foot. This overuse injury can cause heel pain, which may radiate forward into the foot. The athlete should rest until the pain goes away. A sports injury professional can often prescribe an anti-inflammatory medication to aid in resolving the symptoms. Proper taping techniques may also be recommended, which will allow the foot to rest.
- Tendonitis involves inflammation of a tendon, the fibrous cord that connects muscle to bone. A physician can determine the severity and advise the athlete on a rehabilitation and strengthening program.
- Stress fractures can occur as a result of prolonged repeated loads on the legs. Symptoms include pain in the affected bone during exercise and tenderness and swelling at a point on the bone. The athlete should see a sports doctor who can suggest treatment, which typically includes resting for six to eight weeks and using crutches if necessary.
Assessing the severity of an injury can be difficult. When in doubt, seek the advice of a doctor.
Injuries may cause:
- Limited range of motion
- Loss of strength
For minor soccer injuries, think PRICEMM- Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation, Motion and Medicine. This will help limit swelling and further tissue damage, maintain range of motion and return the athlete to sports as quickly and as safely as possible.