Swimming is one of the most popular low-impact sports in the U.S., but that doesn’t mean you can’t get hurt. There are two common reasons swimming injuries occur: fatigue leading to poor technique and repetitive motion causing strain. Most swimming-related injuries develop over time. Therefore, whether you are a competitive swimmer or simply enjoy swimming for exercise, it is important to understand the common injuries in order to better prevent them.
3 Common Swimming-Related Injuries
Shoulder injuries are the most common because swimming is a sport that involves a great deal of repetitive shoulder motion. Swimmer’s Shoulder is an umbrella term that covers a range of painful shoulder overuse injuries. The shoulder is a very mobile joint that is controlled by the stabilizing muscles and ligaments surrounding it. These muscles and ligaments are very sensitive to over-training, fatigue, hypermobility, poor stroke technique, weakness, and tightness. Ignoring minor shoulder injuries can be quite dangerous for swimmers because the more advanced forms of Swimmer’s Shoulder can be difficult to heal.
Swimmer’s Knee is often called Breaststroker’s Knee because the leading cause is the repetitive motions of the breaststroke kick. During breaststroke, the leg whips out to help propel the body through the water. When the legs extend and are brought back together, the knee is subject to an external rotation for which it wasn’t designed. This puts stress on the inner ligament of the knee, called the Medial Collateral Ligament.
Neck injuries are common swimming-related injuries that are not necessarily connected with a specific stroke. Injuries may result by over-rotating when repetitively turning for a breath during freestyle, hyperextending during breast stoke, or overexerting the anterior neck muscles during backstroke.
Tips For Preventing Injury
While swimming is a low-impact sport, its repetitive nature means each athlete must take care of his or her body and take the time to learn proper form.
Here are some tips to help keep you injury-free:
- Take lessons with a certified instructor to learn proper technique
- Progress slowly to allow the muscles to strengthen
- Stretch before and after your workout, but avoid overstretching joints that are fatigued
- Warm up properly prior to exerting yourself
- Vary your stroke to work different muscle groups and perform different repetitive motions
- Let your body recover with scheduled rest days
- Hire a coach to watch and adjust your form if you are developing pain*
Consult The Experts
At Premier Aquatics Services, your health and safety are our top priorities. All of our instructors and coaches understand the importance of teaching proper technique and remaining aware of form while swimmers are in the water. Visit our website to learn more about our wide range of group and individual swim classes.
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*Always consult with a physician if you experience an injury or pain.