Swimming is considered a great form of physical activity because it strengthens multiple regions of the body. It can also improve flexibility and cardiovascular endurance. The lack of impact makes it a safe choice for avoiding lower-body injuries that are more common with land-based exercises.
This is one reason why so many people choose swimming as their primary form of exercise. In fact, it’s estimated that almost 28 million Americans swam for fitness in 2018. But its intense involvement of upper body muscles increases the chances of overuse injuries.
The risk of injury is even greater in elite swimmers. These athletes often swim between 10 and 20 miles per day, which puts lots of strain on joints from the extremely repetitive motions. Fortunately, a physical therapist can help you treat and avoid many swimming injuries.
Common swimming injuries
Overuse injuries in swimmers occur gradually over time. Such injuries primarily result from fatigue and failure to adhere to proper stroke techniques. Unsurprisingly, up to 87% of complaints from swimmers relate to their shoulders, and the most common issue overall is swimmer’s shoulder.
Swimmer’s shoulder describes any shoulder pain that swimmers experience, but it’s usually due to rotator cuff tendinitis. This issue occurs in the rotator cuff, which is a group of muscles and tendons that surround and stabilize the shoulder. If left untreated, the swimmer’s shoulder can go on to cause more pain and other injuries that can interfere with performance.
Though the shoulder is by far the most common trouble spot, some swimmers may also experience issues in other areas. Some other common issues swimming can cause include:
How can physical therapists help prevent and treat a swimming injury?
The best way to reduce injury risk is to ensure that you’re practicing and competing with the proper technique. A physical therapist can recommend the following for treating and preventing swimming-related injuries:
Warm-up and stretch, especially the shoulder, before every swim.
Avoid overuse injuries by mixing upstrokes and spending less time practicing those that are causing pain.
Be sure to rest sufficiently between training sessions.
Practice good communication between coaches, swimmers, and sports trainers.
Take some time off rather than pushing through pain, which can make it worse.
Find help for swimming injuries at Health Plus Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Center, Edison NJ
Injured yourself while swimming? Our therapy specialists at Health Plus PT are here to help you find effective care for your injury. We provide physical screening that can reveal what type of injury you have. Then, our physical therapists can help build a one-on-one therapy program for you that will likely include:
- Core-strengthening exercises
- Active release
- Shoulder-strengthening exercises
- Hip-strengthening exercises
- Sports rehab
- Flexibility exercises to increase joint range of motion
- Virtual therapy
- At-home care
Contact our team today for more information about how we can help you with a swimming injury or to schedule your initial appointment.