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Swimmers Shoulder

What is Swimmers Shoulder Shoulder injuries are a common injury found in swimmers which tend to result in pain and discomfort due to overuse, a sudden increase in training load e.g. the use of hand paddles too frequently or by practising a stroke with faults. The pain is usually associated with those who swim freestyle regularly and the pain can cause so much discomfort it stops training completely. Swimmers perform a huge amount of overhead arm movements whilst in the pool and swimming. Some scientists have estimated that some swimmers may perform as many as 16,000 shoulder rotations in a single week. This is could be over 1 million shoulder revolutions in 1 year. To put this in perspective, a professional tennis player or baseball pitcher who are always spotted with the shoulders rotating may reach 1000 rotations – compare this to the 16,000 of a swimmer and you can understand why this can be a niggling problem! Symptoms of swimmers shoulder can include:
  • Pain during and after heavy workouts
  • Pain that interferes with shoulder movements
  • Pain that prevents sport participation
Causes Given the amount of rotations a swimmer performs, it is no wonder that this injury has been nicknamed ‘swimmers shoulder.’ From this range of movement over and over again, micro traumas happen to the shoulder and develop into this swimming injury. However this does have three main conditions behind it:
  1. Tendonitis – inflammation or irritation of a tendon
  2. Instability – the muscles and tendons having an unpredictable behaviour
  3. Impingement – where the acromion rubs against the tendon causing pain
Rehab for those with swimmers shoulder The best treatment for swimmers shoulder is to allow the slow and gradual return to exercise and over excursion can cause re occurrence of the condition. Try some low exertion shoulder exercises to help rebuild the muscle strength and get used to the shoulder movements again. By doing low intensity exercises you won’t irritate the muscles too much.