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Dive into the world of common swimming sport injuries and discover how to stay in the swim of things without hurting yourself.

From the dreaded Swimmer’s Shoulder to the annoying Swimmer’s Ear.

We’ve got you covered on the most prevalent issues faced by avid swimmers.

As you glide through our article, you’ll learn about overuse injuries and specific problems like Breaststroker’s Knee.

So, let’s plunge into the deep end and keep your swimming goals injury-free!

Swimmer’s Shoulder

Swimmer’s Shoulder is a term used to describe a range of shoulder pain and injuries commonly experienced by swimmers. This injury can result from overuse, poor stroke technique, or muscle imbalances.

Swimmer’s Shoulder often involves inflammation of the rotator cuff tendons or bursa, which can lead to pain and limited range of motion.

Swimmer’s Ear

Swimmer’s Ear, or otitis externa, is an inflammation of the ear canal. It is often caused by water being trapped in the ear after swimming, which creates an environment for bacteria and fungi to grow.

Swimmer’s Ear can be painful and result in temporary hearing loss. Preventative measures include thoroughly drying ears after swimming and using earplugs while swimming.

Neck Injuries

Neck injuries in swimming can result from poor stroke technique or overextension of the neck during specific strokes, such as freestyle or backstroke. These injuries can cause pain, muscle imbalances, and reduced range of motion.

Proper stroke technique and strengthening exercises for the neck and shoulder muscles can help reduce the risk of neck injuries.

Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain in swimmers is often caused by poor body positioning or excessive arching of the back during swimming. This can lead to muscle strains, ligament sprains, and even disc herniation.

Strengthening the core muscles, improving swimming technique, and incorporating stretching can help alleviate lower back pain.

Swimmer’s Knee

Swimmer’s Knee, also known as breaststroker’s knee, is a common injury in swimmers, particularly those who frequently perform the breaststroke.

This injury is characterized by inflammation and pain in the knee joint, often due to overuse and improper kicking technique.

Correction of technique, rest, and strengthening exercises can help reduce the risk of Swimmer’s Knee.

Tennis Elbow (Lateral Epicondylitis)

Tennis Elbow, or lateral epicondylitis, is caused by overuse and strain on the tendons connecting the forearm muscles to the elbow joint.

This can occur in swimmers who use a repetitive and forceful arm motion, such as freestyle or butterfly strokes. Treating tennis elbow involves rest, icing the affected area, and incorporating forearm-strengthening exercises.

Breaststroker’s Knee (specific to breaststroke swimmers)

Breaststroker’s Knee, as the name suggests, is specific to swimmers who perform the breaststroke.

This injury involves inflammation and pain in the knee joint, particularly in the medial collateral ligament (MCL) due to the unique kicking motion of the breaststroke.

Prevention and treatment include improving technique, rest, and targeted strengthening exercises for the knee.

Golfer’s Elbow (Medial Epicondylitis)

Golfer’s Elbow, or medial epicondylitis, affects the tendons connecting the forearm muscles to the inner elbow.

In swimming, this injury can result from repetitive forceful arm motion or poor technique during specific strokes. Treatment involves rest, stretching, and strengthening exercises for the forearm muscles.

Hip Injuries

Hip injuries in swimming can occur due to overuse, poor technique, or muscle imbalances. These injuries can involve hip flexor strains, labral tears, or impingement syndromes.

Preventing hip injuries includes improving stroke techniques, incorporating hip strengthening, and flexibility exercises.

Backstrokers Knee

Backstrokers Knee is an injury experienced by swimmers who frequently perform the backstroke, as the kick used in this stroke can put strain on the knee joint.

Swimmers may experience pain, inflammation, or even damage to the meniscus. Proper technique, rest, and strengthening exercises can help reduce the risk of Backstrokers Knee.

Foot and Ankle Injuries

Foot and ankle injuries, such as sprains or plantar fasciitis, can occur in swimmers from repetitive kicking motions or pushing off the wall during turns.

Proper swimming technique, adequate rest, and targeted strengthening and flexibility exercises can help prevent these injuries.

Overuse Injuries (common due to repetitive nature of the sport)

Overuse injuries are common in swimming, as the repetitive nature of the sport can put strain on muscles, ligaments, and joints. These injuries can include tendonitis, stress fractures, and muscle strains.

Preventing overuse injuries involves proper technique, adequate rest, and incorporating cross-training to evenly distribute stress on the body.

Bicep Tendinitis (inflammation of the bicep tendons due to overuse)

Bicep tendinitis is an inflammation of the upper arm tendons due to overuse, commonly experienced by swimmers who perform repetitive arm motions.

This can lead to pain and limited range of motion in the shoulder. Treatment involves rest, ice, and strengthening exercises for the bicep and shoulder muscles.

Rotator Cuff Tendinitis (inflammation of the shoulder tendons due to overuse)

Rotator cuff tendinitis, common in swimmers, is the inflammation of the shoulder tendons from overuse. Pain and limited range of motion can result from this injury.

Proper technique, rest, and targeted strengthening exercises for the rotator cuff muscles can help prevent and treat this condition.

Wrist Tendinitis (inflammation of the wrist tendons due to overuse)

Wrist tendinitis can occur in swimmers due to repetitive wrist motion and overuse. This condition involves inflammation and pain in the tendons surrounding the wrist joint.

Treatment and prevention include rest, stretching, and strengthening exercises for the wrist.

Labral Tears (shoulder joint injury)

Labral tears are a shoulder joint injury that can occur in swimmers from overuse or repetitive stress on the shoulder. This injury involves tearing the labrum, the cartilage that surrounds the shoulder socket.

Labral tears can cause pain, instability, and reduced range of motion. Treatment options include physical therapy, rest, and sometimes surgery.

How to Treat Swimming Sport Injuries

  1. Swimmer’s Shoulder and Rotator Cuff Tendinitis share similar treatments such as rest, proper stroke technique, and targeted strengthening exercises for the shoulder and rotator cuff muscles to alleviate pain and inflammation.
  2. Swimmer’s Ear requires drying the ears thoroughly after swimming and, if necessary, using over-the-counter antibiotic ear drops prescribed by a healthcare professional to treat the inflammation and infection.
  3. Neck injuries and Lower Back Pain in swimmers can be treated with correcting swimming techniques, strengthening exercises for the afflicted areas, and incorporating stretching to alleviate pain and muscle imbalances.
  4. Swimmer’s Knee, Breaststroker’s Knee, and Backstrokers Knee all benefit from rest, proper technique, and targeted strengthening exercises for the knee joint to reduce the risk of these common swimming injuries.
  5. Tennis Elbow and Golfer’s Elbow in swimmers can be treated with rest, icing the affected area, and incorporating forearm-strengthening exercises to address the strain on elbow tendons.
  6. Hip, Foot, and Ankle Injuries are treatable by improving stroke techniques, incorporating hip strengthening, and targeted flexibility exercises to help prevent muscle imbalances and maintain proper body positioning.
  7. Overuse Injuries and Bicep Tendinitis benefit from proper technique, rest, targeted strengthening exercises for the affected muscles, and incorporating cross-training for a balanced approach to conditioning.

How to Prevent Swimming Sport Injuries

Swimming is a popular sport, but it also comes with its own set of injuries. By taking measures to prevent these common swimming injuries, you can minimize your risk and enjoy the water.

The following tips can help you avoid various swimming-related injuries.

  • Properly warm up and stretch before swimming, focusing on the shoulders, neck, hips, and legs. This helps to prepare your muscles and tendons for activity.
  • Improve technique by working with a coach or taking swimming lessons, as correct form can significantly reduce the risk of injury.
  • Strengthen muscles through resistance training and exercises designed to target commonly injured areas, such as the rotator cuff, neck, and core.
  • Use appropriate gear, such as goggles, earplugs, and supportive footwear, to reduce the risk of swimmer’s ear, eye irritation, and foot injuries.
  • Gradually increase intensity by incorporating rest days and cross-training to prevent overuse injuries.
  • Listen to your body and seek medical attention if you experience pain, swelling, or reduced mobility, as early diagnosis and treatment can prevent further damage.

FAQ

1. What is Swimmer’s Shoulder?

Swimmer’s Shoulder is a term describing shoulder pain and injuries common in swimmers, often involving inflammation of the rotator cuff tendons or bursa, leading to pain and limited range of motion. It can result from overuse, poor stroke technique, or muscle imbalances.

2. How can Swimmer’s Ear be prevented?

Swimmer’s Ear can be prevented by thoroughly drying the ears after swimming and using earplugs while swimming to avoid water being trapped in the ear, which creates an environment for bacteria and fungi to grow.

3. What causes Lower Back Pain in swimmers?

Lower back pain in swimmers is often caused by poor body positioning or excessive arching of the back during swimming, leading to muscle strains, ligament sprains, and even disc herniation. Strengthening core muscles, improving swimming techniques, and incorporating stretching can help alleviate the pain.

4. How can Overuse Injuries be prevented in swimming?

Preventing overuse injuries in swimming involves proper technique, adequate rest, and incorporating cross-training to evenly distribute stress on the body, helping to avoid tendonitis, stress fractures, and muscle strains common in the sport.

I'm a sports enthusiast who loves all kinds of ball and water sports. I run stand-up-paddling.org (#1 German Paddleboarding Blog), played competitive Badminton, took part in the German Mini Golf Championships, started learning 'real' Golf and dabbled in dozens of other sports & activities.

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