Australia has a bit of a love affair with the water – we suppose it’s just a side-effect of being surrounded by the stuff!
You don’t even have to look at how our competitive swimmers are treated for proof – only 5% of Aussie adults can’t swim, compared to 20% in the UK, or the shocking 4 billion people globally who can’t swim.
Whether you swim in the fast lane, slow lane, or anywhere in-between, swimmer’s shoulder is something you’ll want to be on the lookout for when you head down to the pool.
Shoulder injuries can take you out of the pool for weeks at a time. Today, our physio in Highett explains what causes swimmer’s shoulder, and how you can avoid it!
What is swimmer’s shoulder?
Like the name suggests, swimmer’s shoulder is most common in swimmers – however, by no means is it exclusive to them!
That’s because swimmer’s shoulder as it’s called is really just an umbrella term for a range of overuse injuries found in the shoulder, including:
- Rotator cuff impingement and tears
- Muscle strains and microtears
- Tendonitis in the shoulder
- Shoulder bursitis
- Capsule or ligament damage
- Cartilage damage
As an overuse injury, it’s generally repeated trauma and overuse of your shoulders that causes it, rather than a particular impact or accident.
So technically, anyone whose daily routine involves lots of repetitive shoulder movements may also fall victim to swimmer’s shoulder.
What causes swimmer’s shoulder?
Like many sports-related injuries and pains, the root causes of swimmer’s shoulder can be chalked up to two issues:
- Going too fast, too soon
- Poor technique
This condition is especially common in people who are just getting started with swimming, or returning to the pool after a long time away.
What many swimmers do is dive right in (sometimes literally). Their bodies haven’t been conditioned to the repetitive movements swimmers often need to perform.
And in many cases, they also use from poor swimming technique, which increases the risk of shoulder injury even further!
How a physio in Highett helps
Like with many sports-related injuries, aches and pains, your local physiotherapist can help you get back into the pool without risking an injury such as swimmer’s shoulder.
Conditioning and training
Before diving back into the pool, it’s important that your muscles and body are ready for it – especially if it’s been a while since you’ve swum.
Whether you’re a serious swimmer or concerned about your risk of injury, a physio in Highett can help.
We help swimmers like you by conditioning your body to better cope when you get back in the pool:
- Exercises and routines strengthen your muscles
- Joint exercises improve flexibility and improve range of motion
- Warm-up routines that prepare your muscles for the pool
All of which protect your body against injuries like swimmer’s shoulder.
Treatments for musculoskeletal issues
In many cases, swimmer’s shoulder is the result of unresolved, past musculoskeletal issues such as previous injury.
Without proper treatment, these problems can flare up as you swim, putting you out of action.
Thus, it’s imperative that these problems are sorted before you hit the water.
The unique AUS System we employ here at Physio AUS goes into unparalleled depth during the assessment phase. We dive deep to find the root cause of your past musculoskeletal problems.
Only then can we prescribe you an individualised routine that resolves these problems once and for all.
Technique and training
While relief from musculoskeletal pain and conditions might be the main thing physiotherapists are known for, by no means is it the only way we can help swimmers.
Another is making improvements to your swimming technique.
Using their understanding of the musculoskeletal system, our physio in Highett examines your swimming technique, identifies problems, and helps you rectify them.
For example, say freestyle is your main stroke.
When your hand enters the water, it’s important that it doesn’t do so across your body’s “midline”. This increases drag and resistance, putting additional strain on your shoulders which may contribute to swimmer’s shoulder.
That’s just one example of the types of technique flaws you mightn’t even realise that you have. Luckily, a physiotherapist can help you pick them out and correct them, protecting you from long-term injury and pain.
Other common swimming-related injuries
While swimmer’s shoulder is one of the more common conditions swimmers face, by no means is it the only one.
Another common swimming-related injury is breaststroker’s knee, so-called because the vast majority of cases occur in – who else? – breaststrokers.
This is due to the unique kicking mechanics inherent to breaststroke, which involves frog-like kicks rather than the simple up-and-down kicks used in other strokes.
Needless to say, this type of lateral flexing puts extra strain on your leg joints.
Another problem many swimmers run into are injuries obtained while resistance or cross-training – common culprits include injuries in the weights room or on a treadmill.
In addition to helping with swimmer’s shoulder, a physio in Highett can also assist with these swimming-related conditions.
Suffering from swimming-related injuries?
Call our physiotherapists in Highett
At Physio AUS, our mission is simple: to help you get back into the pool without having to worry about pain or injury.
Live further east? Our physiotherapy clinic in Caulfield can be reached on 1300 392 552.