Swimming – Common Injuries
Swimming is one of the activities that I like to recommend to my patients. It is one of the best forms of exercise which works your whole body while not loading a lot of the joints. Unfortunately, this is just in theory. If you’re like me, then you are probably a poor swimmer. Even though swimming, in theory, is good for the body, swimming with poor stroke mechanics can cause many forms of injury. We will discuss what these injuries are and what are the ways that you can prevent injuries.
Common Swimming Injuries
The most common areas to get injured for swimmers are the neck and shoulders. This is because of the overhead movements that swimmers have to do with their shoulders. Also, most amateur swimmers have inflexible upper back which puts a lot of strain to the neck and shoulders.
Common swimming injuries include:
- Shoulder (rotator cuff) tendonitis or tear
- Shoulder inflammation or irritation
- Shoulder impingement
- Low back pain
- Neck pain
- Biceps Tendonitis
Causes of Swimming Injuries
The biggest factor to contribute to your swimming injuries is poor swimming stroke mechanics. There are several factors that may contribute to you having poor stroke mechanics. They are:
- Poor core muscle strength
- Poor rotator cuff muscle strength
- Reduced shoulder range
- Stiff upper/lower back
- Decreased hip muscle strength
Other causes of swimming injuries include are overtraining and poor breathing technique. If swimming is causing your some pain in the shoulder, neck or back, it is recommended that you seek help from a professional to ascertain the cause. Otherwise, it may cause your injury to get worse.
Tips on Improving Your Strokes
The best way reduce the chance of injury is to swim with proper strokes. To do this, you should engage a coach who can tell you exactly how you should modify your strokes to prevent injuries. We have listed below general guidelines you should follow to improve your strokes.
- Alternate your breathing to both sides in order to prevent stressing one side only
- When breathing, rotate your body to the side you’re breathing to reduce the chance that you strain your neck by over-turning
- Maintain your head in line to your body while breathing and not try to lift it up
- If you have neck soreness, you need to strengthen the muscles in the front of your neck also known as the deep neck flexors
- Rotate you r body with each stroke to help reduce your neck soreness
- Gradually increase your distance
- Keep your head in line with your body and extend your back to breathe instead of lifting your head to avoid neck pain
- Strengthen your hip and knee to reduce the chance of a knee pain
- Focus on increasing your leg strength to improve the strength of your kick. This will help you in your breathing without having to strain your back
- Improve your timing. This reduces stress on your back and neck.
As always, we hope that this article has been useful to you. Should you have any questions, feel free to drop us a line. Below is a quick video that will help you increase your core muscle strength which will help you with swimming regardless what style you use. Follow us on our YouTube channel in order to find more useful exercises.https://youtu.be/aOZL7_isb1M