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When Will I Recover? Average Healing Times for 5 Common Injuries in Cheerleaders

By Beth Shum


Background

Cheerleading is an impressively challenging sport, and injuries are often part and parcel of our training journey.

📊 Did you know? Over the past decade, cheerleading has had 64 injuries per 100,000. But there’s more to the story! 🤸‍♀️


🤕 78% of cheerleaders experience at least 1 injury during their athletic career


💪 79% of neck and spine injuries are caused by stunts


🚑 Concussions and closed head injuries have surged by 44%


🔍 Dive into the stats, the average time lost per injury is 29 days.


[Click on the post above to check out our Instagram post on Cheerleading Rehab & Injury Data!]


When will I recover?

When we get injured, a common question that comes to mind is: is this bad? Can I train? When will I get better?

All very valid questions! As with every other million-dollar question...


Average Healing Times for 5 Common Injuries in Cheerleaders

There are so many factors to consider with healing times, from the severity of injury to your training schedule (did you let it rest hmm? No judgment haha...), and even nutrition and sleep. So this is certainly by no means a hard and fast rule...however! It's a good starting point to understand how long things generally take to heal.

Sometimes, just understanding how long we may be away from training can be very reassuring.

Injury #1 - Sprained Ankle 

Cause: 

Rolling, twisting, or overstretching the ankle ligaments.

Average Healing Time: 

2-6 weeks (depending on severity) [1].

Treatment:

  • RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) [2].

  • Gentle stretching and strengthening exercises as tolerated [3].


Injury #2 - Hamstring Strain

Cause: 

Sudden overstretching or tearing of the hamstring muscles in the back of the thigh.

Average Healing Time: 

6-12 weeks (longer for severe tears) [4].

Treatment:

Apply heat after the initial inflammation subsides [5]. Gentle stretching and strengthening exercises as prescribed by a physiotherapist [6]


 Injury #3 - Rotator Cuff Tear

Cause: 

Tearing of the tendons or muscles that hold the shoulder joint in place. Can be caused by repetitive overhead motions or a sudden injury.

Average Healing Time: 

4-6 months (can vary depending on tear size and treatment) [7].

Treatment:

Rest, ice, and pain medication in the initial phase [8]. Physiotherapy is crucial for regaining strength and mobility [9].


Injury #4 - ACL Tear 

Cause: 

Tearing of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in the knee, often caused by sudden pivoting or twisting motions.

Average Healing Time: 

6-12 months, typically requiring surgery and rehabilitation [10].

Treatment:

Surgery is often necessary to reconstruct the ACL, followed by extensive physiotherapy for regaining strength, stability, and range of motion [11].


 Injury #5 - Wrist Pain from Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI)


Repetitive motions that strain the muscles, tendons, and nerves in the wrist and hand. Common in activities like typing, using power tools, or playing certain instruments.

Average Healing Time: 

Varies depending on the severity, but can take weeks or months to improve with proper treatment [12].

Treatment:

Rest, ergonomic modifications (e.g., using a wrist brace or modifying work tasks), physiotherapy to address pain and improve flexibility and strength [13].


What about ____ injury?

There are many other possible injuries which you may find yourself encountering along the way, so while it's not possible to cover them all in one blog, here's a general timeline to consider!

Conclusion

Injuries can be tough to navigate, but they do get better! Getting a grasp of what you may be looking at in terms of what to expect in terms of how long its going to take to feel better can be very helpful, and appropriate guidance from an appropriate healthcare/allied health professional (eg. Physiotherapist) can be a great asset in the process.

Please note this doesn't replace medical advice! If you’re struggling with your injury, book with us online for personalised assessment and strength programming: BOOK HERE 🔗 💪🏼


References:
  1. Mount Elizabeth Hospital (2023). When Will I Recover? Average Healing Times for 5 Common Injuries. https://www.mountelizabeth.com.sg/health-plus/article/common-injuries-healing-times

  2. National Health Service (2023). Ankle sprain. https://www.nhslanarkshire.scot.nhs.uk/services/physiotherapy-msk/ankle-sprain/

  3. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (2022). Ankle Sprains. https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases--conditions/ortho-pinion-ankle-sprains/

  4. Mayo Clinic (2022). Hamstring strain. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hamstring-injury/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20372990

  5. American College of Sports Medicine (2020). ACSM's Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription, 10th Edition. Wolters Kluwer.

  6. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (2023). Rotator Cuff Tears. https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/globalassets/pdfs/rotator-cuff-tears.pdf

  7. Mayo Clinic (2022). Rotator cuff tear. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/rotator-cuff-injury/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20350231

  8. British Journal of Sports Medicine (2018). Effectiveness of physiotherapy for rotator cuff tears: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. https://www.bmj.com/content/340/bmj.c2756

 

Our articles are not designed to replace medical advice. If you have an injury we recommend seeing a qualified health professional. We offer both in-person assessments and online consultations.





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