Grip Lock Injury in Male Gymnasts

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Emily M. Bezek, MD; Ann E. VanHeest, MD;and Douglas T. Hutchinson.



Grip lock is a high bar injury in male gymnastics and occurs while the gymnast is rotating around the high bar. Its mechanism and treatment have been poorly documented.

Study Design

Case reports.


One gymnast sustained an extensor tendon injury and ulnar styloid fracture and was treated nonoperatively. The second gymnast sustained open fracture of the radius and ulna with extensor tendon ruptures and was surgically treated. Both gymnasts healed and were able to return to collegiate gymnastics despite residual finger extensor lag.


Grip lock is a physically and psychologically devastating injury on the men’s high bar that can cause forearm fractures and extensor tendon injuries at the wrist (Zone 8), which may result in residual extensor tendon lag. Injuries may be prevented with proper grip fit, appropriate maintenance of grips, and limited duration of use, as well as education of athletes, athletic trainers, and coaches


Bezek EM, Vanheest AE, Hutchinson DT. Grip lock injury in male gymnasts. Sports Health. 2009;1(6):518-521. doi:10.1177/1941738109347965


gymnastics, wrist injuries, grip lock

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