Swimming is a great sport with many health benefits, making it a lifelong sport. Just like any other sport, you can injure yourself whilst swimming if you overdo it! Most swimming injuries are caused by poor technique, rarely caused by impact or other swimmers. Here are a few of the common swimming injuries and how to prevent getting them.
Shoulder pain, often known as swimmer’s shoulder, is a well known common injury for us swimmers! Swimming techniques work the shoulder muscles frequently and can be stressful on the muscles. If you often swim a lot of freestyle or butterfly, you will be constantly rotating your shoulder blade in the same motion which can often result in inflammation, pain and overuse of the muscles.
To prevent swimmer’s shoulder, you should avoid repetitive stress on the shoulder. Try to rest the shoulder when the joint feels tired or overused and remember to stretch and warm up before swimming to help prevent injury. Your technique may be the issue for this injury, so try to improve your form whilst swimming so movement through the water will be easier on your joints. You can get your coach to help analyse your technique to help prevent injury.
If you are recovering from a swimmer's shoulder, try to vary your kicking styles between using a board and not, but you should avoid swimming until your doctor says you are fit to return to the water. Try to avoid putting unnecessary stress on the shoulders by not carrying heavy backpacks or doing weight training exercises that will cause more stress on the muscles.
You can also work on building strength in your shoulders by using resistance bands! Check out our range of resistance bands and training aids here: https://www.proswimwear.co.uk/swimming-accessories/swimming-training-aids/resistance-training.html
Neck pain is one injury many swimmers experience. Swimming requires a lot of work from the neck, from working on body position and keeping body alignment in the water to consistently rotating your neck to breathe. This often tightens up your neck on the side you breathe towards and can often cause some neck pain. Freestyle and butterfly are the two strokes where you are most likely to get this injury as both consist of constant rotation of the neck.
There are certain prevention methods to keep in mind for neck pain. Keep your head, spine and body aligned whilst swimming the best you can. This can reduce the chance of injuring your neck. Bilateral breathing in freestyle and having a maintained breathing style in butterfly can both help to keep your neck rotation consistent without over-straining the muscles.
If you are trying to recover from neck pain, try mixing in different strokes to your routine that will prevent your neck muscles from doing the same movements over and over to rest the muscles. You can even take a break from the pool if the pain is consistent and visit a doctor if the pain starts to concern you.
Swimmer's ear is another common injury for swimmers that can trigger quite a bit of pain and is mainly damaged by elevated amounts of bacteria in water. Itching, clogged, impaired hearing and sensitivity on the outer part of your ear are common symptoms of swimmer’s ear.
To prevent this, consider wearing ear plugs if this is a chronic issue for yourself to avoid bacteria damaging your ears. You can also clean your ears after swimming with a cotton swab to remove excess water in your ears. Try to swim at pools that keep their water and chlorine levels regulated to help prevent you from getting this injury.
If you have swimmer’s ear, visit your doctor so they can provide you with the correct drops to treat the infection and take a break from the pool if required.
Swimmer’s knees often find themselves at the brunt of injuries, especially for breaststroke swimmers. Swimming can put a lot of pressure on the knees from kicking too much and putting strain on the muscles. These injuries can be very painful and can take you away from the pool for a long time.
To prevent getting knee injuries whilst swimming, try mixing up your training routine to include sets without breaststroke strokes. You can also include breaststroke drills that change the way you kick, such as dolphin kick, to change up the muscles being used. Also try to improve your hip abduction as this can take stress away from your knees when having more hip rotation and a wider range of motion.
If you have knee pain, try using cold compresses on the affected knee two to three times a day. You should also contact your doctor and follow any physical therapy exercises that they may give you.
Swimming is a great sport for any age and has huge health benefits! But if you aren’t careful, you can risk injuries to yourself if you aren’t practising with your swimming technique.