Whether you swim competitively or as a hobby, swimming is a fun activity that keeps you in shape. Being submerged in water puts less stress on your joints than running or weightlifting would. However, injuries are still possible. At Free Body Physical Therapy, our goal is to help you stay in the pool and remain injury-free all summer long. To learn more about swimming injuries and how you can prevent them, continue reading below. 

Swimming Injuries

Swimming is a well-loved summertime exercise for many people. However, the incorrect technique can be damaging to your body. Recreational and competitive swimmers alike should exercise caution when jumping in the swimming pool this summer to avoid common injuries

Some examples of common swimming injuries may include:

Swimmer’s Shoulder (Shoulder Impingement) 

Most swimming techniques involve a lot of arm movement, which can cause significant strain on your shoulder muscles. Repetitive use without regulation can cause tissue damage. Swimmer’s shoulder refers to several injuries that can result from repetitive motion in the arms, including but not limited to the following:

  • Rotator cuff tears and impingement. 
  • Bicep tendonitis. 
  • Bursitis. 

Limiting training and refraining from sudden increases in workout intensity can help you avoid unnecessary shoulder strain. It’s also important to remember not to swim with tired muscles. Consult with a physical therapist before swimming during the recovery process, especially if you plan to return to an intense routine. 

Breaststroke Swimmer’s Knee 

In competitive swimming environments, breaststroke is very physically demanding. When you face your feet out during this stroke, you may be impacting the ligaments in the knee. This can lead to swelling, knee pain, and inflammation and potentially lead to issues with the medial collateral ligament (MCL). Communicating your pain early on can make all the difference. It’s also important to vary your swimming routine by practicing other strokes to avoid overuse. Strength training guided by a physical therapist can also improve your knee strength and overall well-being. 

Neck Injuries

While swimming is generally considered low impact, it can cause significant strain on your neck. Neck pain from swimming is usually caused by the contortion involved in keeping your head above the water during the breaststroke or rotating your neck to breathe. Keeping your head aligned with your spine can help prevent neck pain. It’s also a good idea to rotate your entire body instead of just twisting your neck to breathe. Our team of dedicated physical therapists will work with you to hone your technique to eliminate any potentially damaging neck movements. 

Avoiding Swimming Injuries

Like any other physical exercise, there are several steps you can take to avoid swimming injuries. Keeping your body healthy ensures that your body moves appropriately and decreases your risk of injury. Here are some of the steps you can take to potentially prevent swimming injuries:

  • Warm-up – Our team can provide you with tips on the best exercises and stretches for the type of swimming you do. 
  • Work all muscle groups – Swimming is a full-body workout, so don’t neglect any of your muscle groups. Keeping yourself fit is crucial to injury prevention. 
  • Utilize proper technique – Proper technique is an essential component to preventing swimming injuries. Our physical therapist will evaluate your technique and help you make safe adjustments to improve your form. 
  • Avoid swimming if you are injured or sick – If you are not feeling healthy, it’s best not to get in the water. If you are not feeling your best, you can become a danger to yourself and others in the water. Take time to rest and recover from an illness or injury before diving back in. 

Contact Us Today

Being aware of the different swimming injuries and taking the necessary steps to prevent them will help you stay healthy at the pool. At Free Body Physical Therapy, our team is well-versed in managing these conditions. We’ll work with you to find the source of your pain and prevent it in the future. Contact us to set up an appointment today!