Norwegian rhythmic gymnasts have high prevalence of overuse injuries in knees, lower back and hip/groin, and urinary incontinence (UI) is common. Existing injury prevention programs mainly focus on lower back and have scant focus on knees and hip/groin. There is also a need for more knowledge on how UI, menstrual irregularities and symptoms during a menstrual cycle impact athletes in aesthetic sports.
Musculoskeletal injuries, pelvic floor dysfunctions and menstrual irregularities in Norwegian rhythmic gymnasts and dancers – mechanisms and prevention
The aims of this PhD project are to investigate physical capacity of Norwegian rhythmic gymnasts and if implementation of prophylactic exercises targeting reduced capacity and pelvic floor dysfunction can prevent/lower the prevalence of musculoskeletal injuries and UI among the same group. Furthermore, we want to investigate menstrual irregularities and how symptoms in different phases of the menstrual cycle (MC) may influence self-reported quality of training and performance among Norwegian rhythmic gymnasts and dancers. In addition, knowledge and communication about the MC with their coaches/teachers will be addressed. The following research questions will be addressed:
Study 1 will be conducted as a cross-sectional clinical study (assessing Norwegian rhythmic gymnast’s physical capacity), while study 2 and 3 will be conducted as a cluster randomized controlled study (with rhythmic gymnastics clubs as the unit of randomization) combining two different interventions (study 2; preventive exercises for the knees, lower back and hip/groin, study 3; pelvic floor muscle training) for two different conditions (musculoskeletal injuries and UI). Study 4 will be conducted as a cross-sectional study where gymnasts and dancers answer an online questionnaire.