Swimming is among the most popular low-impact tness activities, with more than a million competitive and recreational swimmers in the United States. More than one-third of these athletes practice and compete year-round. Elite swimmers may train more than ve miles a day, putting joints through extreme repetitive motion. Most swimming injuries affect the shoulders, knees, hips, or back, depending on stroke. With overuse comes fatigue and failure to adhere to proper stroke techniques. Often swimmers demonstrate tremendous exibility or joint laxity, which can be normal. Slight injuries and micro-trauma can cause shoulders to become unstable and lead to shoulder pain
The shoulder is the joint most commonly affected by swimming injuries or overuse. Shoulder injuries may include rotator cuff impingement — pressure on the rotator cuff from part of the shoulder blade or scapula as the arm is lifted. Biceps tendinitis (painful in ammation of the bicep tendon) and shoulder instability, in which structures that surround the shoulder joint do not work to maintain the ball within its socket, all can result from fatigue and weakness of the rotator cuff and muscles surrounding the shoulder blade.
Lower Body Injuries:
Knee injuries that involve the tendons and ligaments (breaststrokers’ knee) are common. Breaststrokers may also experience hip pain from in ammation of the hip tendons.
Back problems, including lower back disk problems or another problem at the junction between the spine and pelvis, termed spondylolisis, may be increased by the dolphin kick often used in competitive swimming.
How can Swimming Injuries be prevented or treated?
Communication among athlete, parent, coach, and medical professional is critical to both injury prevention and successful recovery
Use good stroke technique
Lessen repetitive strokes that are causing the
Perform core strengthening and cross-training
exercises as part of pre and early season routines
Consider alternative training techniques rather than
training through an injury
Use periods of rest to recover
Focus rehabilitation efforts on rotator cuff and scapular
strengthening for most shoulder injuries and pelvic and
hip strengthening exercises for hip and knee injuries
Speak with a sports medicine professional or athletic
trainer if you have any concerns about injuries or
The athlete should return to play only when clearance
is granted by a health care professional
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