Screening Tools as a Predictor of Injury in Gymnastics: Systematic Literature Review

Ross Armstrong*, NICOLA RELPH

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
44 Downloads (Pure)


Gymnastics requires a high level of physical ability and technical skill which utilises short sets of athleticism and artistry to perform complex and intense movements which can overload musculoskeletal tissues and result in acute injuries which can develop into chronic injuries. The aim of this systematic literature review was to investigate which screening tools predict injury in gymnasts and encompasses all genres, levels and ages.

An electronic search of seven databases from their inception until March 2021 was conducted. The databases were the Allied and Complementary Medicine Database, CINAHL, eBook Collection (EBSCOhost), MEDLINE, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, SPORTDiscus and PEDro (the Physiotherapy Evidence Base). A combination of the following search terms was used: (1) Gymnastics AND injury AND Screening, (2) Screening AND Gymnastics and (3) Musculoskeletal AND Screening AND Gymnastics. These terms were searched in all text, abstract, title and subject terms. Studies were assessed using a 20-point scoring tool.

The mean methodological quality score was 13.1 points (range 10–17 points). Range of motion, anthropometric and postural measurements, hypermobility, clinical diagnostic tests, movement screening tools, muscle strength, power and endurance were reported in the included studies. Some evidence existed for screening measurement of height and mass as taller and heavier gymnasts might be more susceptible to injury; however, the different methodologies utilised and lack of acknowledgment of confounding variables limit the clinical relevance of these findings.

Height and mass should be recorded during the screening process. A lack of heterogeneity in study methodology prevented a meta-analysis. Studies were limited by a lack of prospective injury design, poor injury definition, self-reporting of injury and only 2 studies reported reliability of screening tools. Further research is required to determine the role of injury screening in gymnastics.
Original languageEnglish
Article number73
JournalSports Medicine - Open
Early online date11 Oct 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 Oct 2021


  • Gymnastics
  • injury
  • screening tools
  • injury prevention
  • systematic review

Research Institutes

  • Health Research Institute


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