Common Injuries Seen in Swimmers

Swimming is often considered one of the healthiest forms of exercise; in fact, it can help to reduce long-term health conditions such as heart disease and diabetes by up to 40% according to Swim England.

However, like any sport, it comes with its own set of challenges. Swimmers, both amateur and professional, frequently face injuries that can impact their performance and well-being. Here, we dive into the common injuries seen in swimmers, shedding light on prevention strategies and recovery techniques.

Swimmer’s Shoulder

Swimmer’s shoulder is an umbrella term used to describe the painful shoulder conditions that result from the wear and tear associated with swimming. The shoulder joint, being highly mobile, is particularly vulnerable to injuries due to its wide range of motion during different swim strokes.

Swimmer’s Shoulder Symptoms

Swimmer’s shoulder often manifests as persistent shoulder pain, especially during swimming or specific arm movements. Swimmers might experience a dull ache, sharp pain, or a feeling of weakness in the shoulder. Limited range of motion and discomfort while sleeping on the affected side are also common symptoms.

Swimmer’s Shoulder Treatment and Prevention

  • Proper Technique: Ensuring correct swimming techniques and body positioning can significantly reduce the strain on the shoulders.
  • Warm-up and Cool-down: Adequate warm-up exercises before swimming and cooldown stretches afterwards can prepare the shoulder muscles and promote flexibility, reducing the risk of injuries.
  • Strength Training: Regular strength training exercises targeting the shoulder muscles and the entire upper body can improve muscle stability and prevent imbalances that lead to injuries.
  • See a Chiropractor: Swimmers with a history of shoulder pain or injuries can benefit from the help of a professional chiropractor who can provide tailored exercises to strengthen the shoulder muscles and improve flexibility.

Swimmer’s Knee

Swimmer’s knee refers to the strain and stress placed on the knee joints and surrounding ligaments due to frog kick motion, a distinctive feature of the breaststroke. The frog kick involves bending the knees outward and kicking in a circular motion, putting considerable pressure on the inner part of the knees.

Swimmer’s Knee Symptoms

Swimmer’s knee typically manifests as pain and discomfort on the inner side of the knee. Swimmers might experience tenderness, swelling, or aching sensations, especially during or after sessions. In severe cases, there could be limited range of motion and difficulty in walking.

Swimmer’s Knee Treatment and Prevention

Many of the treatment and prevention strategies for swimmer’s knee are similar to a number of swimming-related injuries. It’s crucial to ensure that proper technique is mastered and that professional support is sought if necessary.

  • Proper Technique: Swimmers should focus on mastering the correct breaststroke technique, ensuring that the frog kick is performed without excessive force and strain on the knees.
  • Strength Training: Strengthening the quadriceps, hamstrings, and calf muscles through targeted exercises can provide better support to the knee joint, reducing the risk of injuries.
  • Stretching and Warm-up: Performing dynamic stretches and warm-up exercises before swimming can enhance joint flexibility and prepare the muscles for the specific movements of the breaststroke.
  • Knee Support: Wearing knee braces or wraps can provide additional support to the knee joint, especially during training sessions, helping to alleviate strain.
  • Professional Guidance: Swimmers experiencing persistent knee pain should consult a specialist. These professionals can assess the condition, recommend appropriate treatments, and guide rehabilitation exercises.

Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain in swimmers can result from a combination of factors, including improper technique, muscular imbalances, and overuse. The hyperextension of the back during strokes, particularly freestyle and butterfly, and the forceful push-off from the pool wall can strain the muscles and ligaments in the lower back, leading to pain and discomfort.

Lower Back Pain Symptoms

Lower back pain typically presents as a dull, constant ache or sharp, stabbing pain in the lower back region. Swimmers might experience discomfort during specific strokes or movements, and the pain might intensify with prolonged swimming sessions. In severe cases, there could be muscle spasms and limited range of motion.

Lower Back Pain Prevention and Treatment

Again, many of these prevention and treatment strategies can be applied to numerous injuries, just make sure they’re tailored appropriately.

  • Proper Technique: Swimmers should focus on maintaining a neutral spine and avoid excessive arching or bending during strokes.
  • Core Strengthening: Strengthening the core muscles, including the abdominal, lower back, and hip muscles, can provide better support to the spine, reducing the risk of lower back pain.
  • Warm-up and Stretching: A thorough warm-up routine that includes dynamic stretching can prepare the muscles for the swim, improving flexibility and reducing the risk of injuries.
  • Posture Awareness: Maintaining good posture both in and out of the water can alleviate strain on the lower back. Swimmers should be mindful of their posture during daily activities.
  • Professional Chiropractic Treatment: If lower back pain persists or worsens, swimmers should seek professional help from a chiropractor.
  • Using a combination of chiropractic techniques, exercises and massage, our team of expert chiropractors help to ease stress and tension in your joints and muscles as a result of swimming, freeing up your movement and reducing pain. 

We specialise in treating sports injuries and in providing rehabilitative care, so you can be sure you’re getting the very best treatment.

If you’d like to find out more about what we do, get in touch with the team today.

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