Sports Medicine: Common Cheerleading Injuries

Picture of girl with cast on ankleMarch is National Cheerleading Safety Month, dedicated to educating parents, cheerleaders and athletic administrators about the orthopedic sports injury risks often associated with cheerleading.

The most common orthopedic cheerleading injuries include ankle sprains, ACL tears and lower back strains, as well as hand and wrist injuries. Ankle sprains can occur when a cheerleader lands on the outside of the foot, causing ligaments in the foot and ankle to stretch or tear. Likewise, wrist injuries can occur when a cheerleader falls on an outstretched hand. ACL injuries occur when an athlete lands from a jump, changes direction or hyperextends the knee, forcing the ligaments to rupture.

Cheerleaders are also susceptible to overuse injuries like patellar tendonitis (inflammation of the patella tendon in the knee) and Osgood-Schlatter disease (inflammation that occurs where the patella tendon and shin bone meet). They are also at risk for dislocated shoulders and spinal compression fractures.

Like any sports-related injury, cheerleading injuries require early medical intervention to avoid permanent damage and loss of function — and an athlete’s injury must be completely healed before he or she returns to the sport.

The board-certified and fellowship-trained physicians at Dickson-Diveley Orthopaedics have extensive experience in sports medicine, helping athletes get back in the game safely and efficiently. During the initial examination, a physician specializing in sports medicine will assess the athlete’s symptoms and range of motion to determine the right course of treatment. If necessary, the physician may order diagnostic imaging, such as X-rays or other tests, to evaluate the bones and soft tissue.

Depending on the cheerleader’s condition, treatment may include immobilization (splints), anti-inflammatories, injections or surgery. Physical therapy may also be prescribed for optimal recovery.

To learn more about sports medicine at Dickson-Diveley Orthopaedics or to consult with one of our physicians, please make an appointment by calling 913-319-7600.


The medical information contained in the Dickson-Diveley Orthopaedics website is provided to increase your knowledge and understanding of orthopedic conditions. This information should not be interpreted as a recommendation for a specific medical or surgical treatment plan. As each patient may have specific symptoms or associated problems, the treatment regimen for a specific patient may not be the proper treatment for another.

Gaining knowledge and understanding of a particular problem or condition is the first step in any medical treatment plan. We believe the information presented on our website will be helpful for those individuals experiencing neck and back pain, sports-related injuries or other orthopedic conditions. However, this information is not intended to replace the advice of your family physician. You are encouraged to consult with your physician to discuss any course of treatment presented or suggested.