Although swimming is far lower impact than many types of exercise, swimming injuries can occur, particularly if you swim regularly. Sometimes, you may be taking on the wrong technique without realising the damage that is causing.
In swimming, the general rule is that you should always warm up and do your stretches before heading to the pool. Always cool down slowly and try to stick to an organised programme to avoid putting unnecessary strain on your body.
Below we have a few top tips for avoiding the most common swimming injuries so that you don’t find yourself being put out of action.
One of the most common swimming injuries is known as swimmer’s shoulder. The condition is an inflammation of the muscles and tendons in the shoulder. It is usually caused by overdoing exercise or bad swimming techniques. If you’re suffering from pain and inflammation in the shoulder area, you could be suffering from this injury.
Swimmers shoulder can occur when you frequently use front crawl, back stroke or butterfly stroke because all of these arm movements centre on the shoulder joints. If you suddenly up the amount of swimming that you do, this could result in swimmer’s shoulder. If you use your swim paddles excessively, stretch too much or use the incorrect technique, you may also find yourself suffering with this injury.
Swimming related neck injuries are generally caused by poor technique. Remember that your neck is very mobile and it needs to be protected to prevent injury. Whilst doing front crawl, your head should always be aligned with your spine and your eyes should be facing down towards the bottom of the pool. Always avoid looking up as this can damage the neck. When inhaling, always rotate your entire body instead of just rotating your head. Similarly, when doing breast stroke or butterfly stroke, keep your head and spine lined up, looking down when breathing in so your neck is not constantly bent.
Breast Stroke Knee
As the name suggests, breast stroke knee is a knee injury caused by the leg movements during breast stroke. If you think about the leg movements during the stroke, your knee joints are rotated during the kick which isn’t how the joints are designed. This can put some strain on the inner ligaments of your knee.
In order to prevent developing this injury, try to alternate between strokes to alleviate the strain on your knee ligaments. If you are a swimming pro, you should set aside times of the year where you don’t do breast stroke at all. As always, proper stretches and warm ups are crucial.
Lower back injuries
Like neck injuries, lower back injuries are generally caused by adopting the wrong technique. If you allow your hips and legs to sink or swim with your head held high, this can put strain on your lower back and result in injuries. Try to amend your position so you find it easy to relax in the horizontal position without having to kick overly hard to keep your legs high up in the water.