Shoulder Pain (Swimmers Shoulder)
The shoulder is the most commonly affected part of the body for swimmers. 90% of swimming injuries we see at Active Answers Physiotherapy are shoulder related.
Injuries can include overuse of the rotator cuff, the biceps tendon (tendinopathy) and injuries associated with shoulder instability.
Elite swimmers can perform roughly 2500 arm revolutions during one session. This repetition places a lot of strain on the shoulder joint and the muscles and structures surrounding it. As a result it is vital that swimmers have adequate strength, range of motion and proper technique to avoid the excessive and unwanted load.
Technical errors such as crossing the midline or dropping the elbow during the catch phase of the stroke, poor thoracic rotation (body roll) and reduced thoracic extension can also lead to increased strain placed on your shoulder.
Chat to your coach if you are worried about your technique.
There are a number of factors that will increase risk of shoulder pain:
- Weakness (particularly rotator cuff)
- Poor range of motion (shoulder, thoracic spine)
- Fatigue (over training)
- Technique errors
Knee injuries are most common with breaststroke swimmers. During the breaststroke kick there is a large amount of force placed on the medial compartment of the knee (breaststrokers’ knee). These injuries, again, are most commonly as a result of repetition and overuse. Having limited hip internal rotation range of motion can increase the load to the knee as well as poor technique.
Due to the demands of the sport, a swimmers' spine can remain in a hyper-extended position for extended periods of time. This position, mixed with poor technique (inadequate body roll) and inadequate strength can lead to excess load on the lower back, leading to injury.
Prevention is key!
Our swimming specialist physiotherapist Michael Gilbert swam at an Elite level for a number of years before moving into a coaching role and now continues to work in the sport as a physio.
With this vast experience he has developed a swimming specific screening tool to help with the prevention of injuries as well as increasing performance.
To find out more about the screening, click here Swimming Screening and Assessment
If you are suffering from injuries while swimming, please get in contact with one of our physiotherapists. We will conduct a thorough assessment, outlining the cause, and get you back swimming pain free.