Common injury in swimming

While swimming is an excellent exercise in the summer, the wrong technique can have serious physical consequences. Learn more about common injuries in swimming.

Four common injuries in swimming

Competitive and recreational swimmers must exercise caution when swimming to avoid common injuries. Awareness and prevention are the best treatments for these injuries.

The swimmer’s shoulder

In most swimming techniques, the same arm movement can cause significant strain on the rotator cuffs or arm/shoulder muscles. Without regulation, repetition of these movements can cause tissue damage. The swimmer’s shoulder is the most common swimming injury due to the free-kick. Everyone who swims regularly will experience some degree of shoulder pain.

The swimmer’s shoulder refers to one or more of the multiple injuries that can occur from repeated movements by moving the arms. These damages include, among others:

  • Rotator cuff impigment
  • Tears on the rotator cuff
  • Biceps tendonitis
  • Bursitis

Preventive measures

Make sure that punches and techniques are performed correctly. Pay special attention to the way your hands get into the water. Your whole hand should come in contact with the water simultaneously instead of going in with your thumb first.

Recovery and treatment

Avoid causing unnecessary shoulder strain by eliminating kickboard exercises, limiting your workouts, and refraining from sudden increases in your training intensity. Most importantly, do not exercise (swim) with tired muscles. Consult a physician before swimming during the recovery process, especially before returning to intense routines.

Neck injuries

Swimming can also cause significant strain on the neck due to the distortion of keeping your head above water during the breaststroke or rotating your neck to breathe during the freestyle stroke.

Preventive measures

Always keep your head in line with your spine (and the rest of your body) while swimming. Rotate your entire body instead of twisting your neck to breathe. Ultimately, refining the technique to eliminate potentially harmful neck movements is the best preventative measure for this common swimming injury.

Recovery and treatment

Try performing a few different strokes to create variety in your training routine. Consult a doctor to find out how often you can exercise and take the steps.

Breaststroke Swimmer’s knee

In more competitive environments, breaststroke can be physically demanding. By turning your feet out during breaststroke, you can inadvertently affect the ligaments in your knee, which usually causes swelling, knee pain, and inflammation, among other symptoms, leading to medial collateral ligament problems. The swimmer’s knee is also a shared swimming injury.

Preventive measures

Avoid workouts that only consist of breaststroke. Instead, divert your thinking to good things in life, such as practice. In addition, improving the hip abduction angle (the angle at which the leg moves away from the hip) will help prevent unnecessary knee strain. Finally, generally improving your strength by exercising is beneficial to your entire body (including your knee) and will help you promote the strength you need for a robust swimming routine.

Recovery and treatment

Treat the injured knee by icing it regularly, at least twice a day. Follow all preventive measures in any exercise routine approved by a physician.

The swimmer’s ear

Although it is not an orthopedic-related swimming injury per se, the swimmer’s ear can cause some discomfort. The swimmer’s ear is contracted primarily after swimming in water with high bacterial levels.

The most common symptoms of swimming tubes, which may manifest to varying degrees or not at all, are:

  • Itch
  • Clogged ear canals
  • Sensitive outer ear
  • Subdued hearing

Mild cases can worsen if left untreated, and worse issues can cause patients to experience swelling or even fever.

Preventive measures

Avoid swimming in potentially dirty water, and clean your ears thoroughly with a cotton swab afterward.

Recovery and treatment

Doctors will clean your ear and prescribe medicated drops to reduce pain and continue the cleansing process. During this process, doctors will probably recommend that you refrain from swimming.

Related articles:

Can swimming cause an ear infection

Different types of strokes in swimming


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