Faced with an ankle injury that has failed to heal, Russian superstar Viktoria Komova is heading for the same German clinic where teammate Aliya Mustafina underwent knee surgery this month.
The 16-year-old Komova heads to Munich with her mother, 1986 Goodwill Games champion Vera Kolesnikova, and Mustafina on May 15. Father Alexander Komov, also a Master of Sports in gymnastics, said he and his wife are encouraging their daughter to be patient as she deals with setbacks caused by the stubborn injury.
"We can only advise Vika to have patience and stick to her goals," Komov told IG.
Komova, who performed three events at the Russian championships in February, is going to Munich for examination of her right ankle.
Komova sprained and fractured her right ankle when she tripped over mats in mid-December, which ended a year of spectacular victories at the Russian championships, Junior European championships and Youth Olympic Games. After spending time in a cast, she returned to competition on three events at the Russian championships in late February.
However, the troublesome ankle caused Russia's coaches to keep the first-year senior out of the European championships, held April 6-10 in Berlin, in the hope the ankle would heal properly with further rest.
In Berlin, world all-around champion Mustafina suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament on vault. She underwent ACL repair a few days later at Sporthopaedicum, a clinic in Straubing outside Munich, and is expected to return to competition in 2012.
The purpose of Komova's trip to the same clinic is for evaluation by specialists, her father said.
"We hope that an operation is not needed," Komov said.
However, surgery is often recommended in these cases. Dr. Michael Canales, a former gymnast who now specializes in foot and ankle surgery, told IG he would advise surgery at this point for an injury that is not healing.
Canales, though he has not examined Komova, said a procedure called lateral ankle stabilization could help the gymnast get back to 100 percent. The operation stabilizes the ankle joint in order to prevent further injury.
"My post-operative course would be two-and-a-half weeks in a cast, and no weight-bearing, followed by aggressive physical therapy," Canales said. "She could return to tumbling in two-and-a-half to three-in-a-half months."
That timeline would make Komova questionable for this fall's world championships, at least on all four events. However, when keeping Komova out of Europeans, Russian coach Andrei Rodionenko already indicated a willingness to forgo 2011 events to keep the gymnast healthy for the 2012 Olympic Games.
"We have the Olympics — they are even more important," Rodionenko said in March.
External Link: Russian Gymnastics Federation