Musculoskeletal pain in gymnasts


  • Alen Miletić
  • Ana Kezić
  • Sunčica Delaš Kalinski


artistic gymnastics, Rhythmic gymnastics, dance, healthcare, back pain


The purpose of this study was to identify pain occurrence among young female athletes in aesthetic sports by defining the proportions of pain status of fourteen body regions. Three groups of young female athletes (artistic gymnasts, rhythmic gymnasts and contemporary dancers) were analysed and compared. The sample consisted of overall 99 competitive athletes. Using the “Self-estimated functional inability because of pain” (SEFIP) questionnaire, athletes were asked to assess their current pain status in 14 body regions on a 5-point scale, with 0 being no pain and 4 being pain so severe that they are unable to practice. According to the Wilk’s test there was a significant multivariate effect (F= 4.60; p<0.001) between artistic gymnasts, rhythmic gymnasts and compulsory dancers in training experience and body status. The most common locations for incidence of pain on the total sample of subjects were in the lower back (44%), knees (35%) and ankles/feet (31%). Artistic gymnasts mostly report pain in the ankles/feet (51.43%), and lower (37.14%) and upper back (34.29%). Rhythmic gymnasts of the same age mostly report pain in lower back area (46.42%), knees (42.86%) shins, ankles and feet (28.57%)¸ while dancers experience pain mostly in lower back (50%), upper back (44%) and knees (38.89%). According to the results of the Chi-square test, artistic gymnasts reported significantly higher pain incidence in ankles/feet region (p<0.01). Early detection of even low intensity pain, accompanied with the adjustment of training load and usage of appropriate safety requirements, can prevent the occurrence of injuries among young athletes.


Download data is not yet available.


Albright, J. A., Meghani, O., Lemme, N. J., Owens, B. D., & Tabaddor, R. (2022). Characterization of Musculoskeletal Injuries in Gymnastics Participants From 2013 to 2020. Sports Health, 19417381221099005.

Amorim, M. G. A. (2019). Perturbações do comportamento alimentar e a ginástica de alta competição Perturbações do comportamento alimentar e a ginástica de alta competição. Universidade do Porto.

Angioi, M., Metsios, G. S., Koutedakis, Y., Twitchett, E., & Wyon, M. (2009). Physical fitness and severity of injuries in contemporary dance. Medical Problems of Performing Artists, 24(1), 26-29.

Baker, J., Scott, D., Watkins, K., Keegan-Turcotte, S., & Wyon, M. (2010). Self-reported and reported injury patterns in contemporary dance students. Medical problems of performing artists, 25(1), 10-15.

Batista, A., Garganta, R., & Ávila-Carvalho, L. (2019). Morphological Characteristics and Biological Maturation of Brazilian and Portuguese Gymnasts. International Journal of Morphology, 37(2).

Campbell, R. A., Bradshaw, E. J., Ball, N.B., et al. (2019). Injury epidemiology and risk factors in competitive artistic gymnasts: a systematic review. British Journal of Sports Medicine; 53:1056-1069.

Cugusi, L., Manca, A., Sarritzu, S., Bergamin, M., et al. (2020). Risk factors associated with low back pain in competitive female gymnasts: A meta-analytic approach. Journal of Sport science, 38, 2543–2552.

Desai, N., Vance, D. D., Rosenwasser, M. P., & Ahmad, C. S. (2019). Artistic gymnastics injuries; epidemiology, evaluation, and treatment. JAAOS-Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, 27(13), 459-467.

Di Fiori, J. P. (2006). Overuse injury and the young athlete: The case of chronic wrist pain in gymnasts. Curr. Sports Med. Rep. 2006, 5, 165–167.

Edouard, P., Steffen, K., Junge, A., Leglise, M., Soligard, T., & Engebretsen, L. (2018). Gymnastics injury incidence during the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games: analysis of prospectively collected surveillance data from 963 registered gymnasts during Olympic Games. British journal of sports medicine, 52(7), 475-481.

Farì, G., Fischetti, F., Zonno, A., Marra, F., Maglie, A., Bianchi, F. P., Messina, G., et al. (2021). Musculoskeletal Pain in Gymnasts: A Retrospective Analysis on a Cohort of Professional Athletes. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(10).

Francisco, R., Alarcão, M., & Narciso, I. (2012). Aesthetic sports as high-risk contexts for eating disorders—Young elite dancers and gymnasts perspectives. The Spanish journal of psychology, 15(1), 265-274.

Fuller, M., Moyle, G. M., Hunt, A. P., & Minett, G. M. (2019). Ballet and contemporary dance injuries when transitioning to full-time training or professional level dance: a systematic review. Journal of Dance Medicine & Science, 23(3), 112-125.

Gerhardt, C., Doyscher, R., Boschert, H. P. & Scheibel, M. (2014). Die Turnerschulter (The gymnastics shoulder). Orthopade, 43, 230–235.

Gram, M. C. D., Clarsen, B., & Bø, K. (2021). Injuries and illnesses among competitive Norwegian rhythmic gymnasts during preseason: a prospective cohort study of prevalence, incidence and risk factors. British journal of sports medicine, 55(4), 231-236.

Gulati, R., Rychlik, K., Wild, J. T., & LaBella, C. R. (2022). Rhythmic gymnasts’ injuries in a pediatric sports medicine clinic in the United States: a 10-year retrospective chart review. The Physician and Sportsmedicine, 1-7.

Hall, R., Foss, K. B., Hewett, T. E., & Myer, G. D. (2015). Sport specialization’s association with an increased risk of developing anterior knee pain in adolescent female athletes. Journal of sport rehabilitation, 24(1), 31-35.

Henn, E. D., Smith, T., Ambegaonkar, J. P., & Wyon, M. (2020). Low back pain and injury in ballet, modern, and hip-hop dancers: a systematic review. International journal of sports physical therapy, 15(5), 671.

Kaur, K., & Koley, S. (2019). Anthropometric determinants of competitive performance in gymnastics: a systematic review. Int J Health Sci Res, 9(7), 249-256.

Kerr, Z. Y., Hayden, R., Barr, M., Klossner, D. A., & Dompier, T. P. (2015). Epidemiology of National Collegiate Athletic Association women's gymnastics injuries, 2009–2010 through 2013–2014. Journal of athletic training, 50(8), 870-878.

Kolar, E., Pavletič, M. S., Smrdu, M., & Atiković, A. (2016). Athletes' perception of the causes of injury in gymnastics. The Journal of sports medicine and physical fitness, 57(5), 703-710.

McMeeken, J., Tully, E., Stillman, B., Nattrass, C., Bygott, I. L., & Story, I. (2001). The experience of back pain in young Australians. Manual therapy, 6(4), 213-220.

Miletic, A., Kostic, R., Bozanic, A., & Miletic, D. (2009). Pain status monitoring in adolescent dancers. Medical problems of performing artists, 24(3), 119-123.

Miletic, D., Miletic, A., & Milavic, B. (2015). Age-related progressive increase of lower back pain among male dance sport competitors. Journal of Back and Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation, 28(3), 551-560.

Miletic, D., Miletic, A., Lujan, I. K., Kezic, A., & Erceg, M. (2015). Health care related problems among female sport dancers. International Journal of Athletic Therapy and Training, 20(1), 57-62.

Müller, J., Müller, S., Stoll, J., Fröhlich, K., Otto, C., & Mayer, F. (2017). Back pain prevalence in adolescent athletes. Scandinavian journal of medicine & science in sports, 27(4), 448-454.

Notarnicola, A., Farì, G., Maccagnano, G. Riondino, A., Covelli, I., at al. (2019). Teenagers’ perceptions of their scoliotic curves. An observational study of comparison between sports people and non-sports people. Muscles Ligaments Tendons J. (MLTJ), 9, 225–235.

de Oliveira, L., Costa, V. R., Antualpa, K. F., & Nunomura, M. (2021). BODY AND PERFORMANCE IN RHYTHMIC GYMNASTICS: SCIENCE OR BELIEF?. Science of Gymnastics Journal, 13(3).

Oltean, A., Rusu, M. M., Copoiu, N., & Calin, M. F. (2017). Incidence of injuries in rhythmic gymnastics. Ovidius University Annals, Series Physical Education and Sport/Science, Movement and Health, 17(2), 427-433.

Purenović-Ivanović, T., Popović, R., Bubanj, S., & Stanković, R. (2019). Body composition in high-level female rhythmic gymnasts of different age categories. Science & Sports, 34(3), 141-148.

Ramel, E. M., Moritz, U., & Jarnlo, G. B. (1999). Validation of a pain questionnaire (SEFIP) for dancers with a specially created test battery. Medical problems of performing artists, 14, 196-203.

Schmidt, C. P., Zwingenberger, S., Walther, A., Reuter, U., Kasten, P., Seifert, J., ... & Stiehler, M. (2014). Prevalence of low back pain in adolescent athletes–an epidemiological investigation. International journal of sports medicine, 35(08), 684-689.

van Seters, C., van Rijn, R. M., van Middelkoop, M., & Stubbe, J. H. (2020). Risk factors for lower-extremity injuries among contemporary dance students. Clinical journal of sport medicine, 30(1), 60-66.

Sun, W. (2020). Injuries in Contemporary Dance. Advances in Physical Education, 10(03), 282.

Thomas, R. E., & Thomas, B. C. (2019). A systematic review of injuries in gymnastics. The Physician and sportsmedicine, 47(1), 96-121.

van Winden, D. P., Van Rijn, R. M., Richardson, A., Savelsbergh, G. J., Oudejans, R. R., & Stubbe, J. H. (2019). Detailed injury epidemiology in contemporary dance: a 1-year prospective study of 134 students. BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine, 5(1), e000453.

Wyatt, H. E., Gittoes, M. J. R. & Irwin, G. (2020). Sport-specific musculoskeletal growth and postural control in female artistic gymnasts: A 12 month cohort study. Sports Biomech., 19, 258–270.




How to Cite

Miletić, A., Kezić, A., & Delaš Kalinski, S. (2023). IDENTIFICATION OF TOPOLOGICALLY CHARACTERISTIC MUSCULOSKELETAL PAIN OCCURRENCE AMONG YOUNG FEMALE ATHLETES: Musculoskeletal pain in gymnasts. Science of Gymnastics Journal, 15(2), 191–204. Retrieved from