Swimming is often perceived as the safest sport to participate in as there is very little chance of injury. This belief is unfounded; injury is a real risk when swimming.
Muscular injuries can often occur amongst swimmers due to the repetitive nature of swimming strokes. Potential injuries may occur in the knees and shoulders, injuries commonly known as ‘Swimmers Shoulder’ and ‘Breast-stroke Knee’. This is due to the stress placed on the muscles and joints when partaking in long and regular training sessions.
The cause of injury usually occurs when a lot of time is spent in the pool with the athlete swimming with poor technique. This can cause the knees and shoulders to be placed under extra and unnecessary stress, potentially leading to tears in the muscles.
Correctly known as painful arc or rotator cuff tendinitis swimmers shoulder injuries can occur when:
- any of the four shoulder muscles are over used
- there is poor blood supply to the muscles
- there is poor swimming technique
Treatment for this injury consists of resting the injured muscles followed by an assessment of the swimmers stroke technique. Failing to address poor swimming technique leaves the athlete at risk from suffering the same injury multiple times.
As with shoulder injuries knee injuries in swimming are most likely to be caused due to over use and poor technique. Knee injuries are a particular risk during breast-stroke as the knee is required to rotate; a movement it’s not designed do. Because of this rotation the knee is put under increased stress placing it at a greater risk of injury. It is essential to ensure that the stroke is being performed correctly otherwise the knee will be put under even greater stress.
The best action to take to reduce the risk of injuring the knee is to carryout strengthening exercises such as squats and leg presses followed by good quality stretches.
The information provided in this article is for guidance only and should not be used in place of recognised training.