With upwards of a million people swimming for fitness and recreation each year, there are bound to be a few injuries that come along with the sport.
Although swimming doesn't breed problems the way high-impact sports do, it can cause its own set of injury issues.
Poor stroke mechanics and overtraining tend to be the main causes of the most common swimming injuries. "Listen to your coach's instructions on mechanics," says Marie-Christine Leisz, the medical director of the Endurance Sports Injury Clinic through Allina Hospitals and Clinics in Minneapolis. "Over time you will develop the kinesthetic awareness that will tell you where your body is in space."
As you hone your form and training plan, consider the following injuries, treatments and prevention tips to keep you from being sidelined.
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Rotator Cuff Injuries
Rotator cuff issues abound when it comes to swimmers.
"Shoulder injuries are the most common injury among swimmers," Leisz says. "It is a repetitive injury usually due to poor stroke mechanics."
Rotator cuff injuries are characterized by an inflammation and a sharp pain in the shoulder that worsens as the arm extends over the shoulder mid-stroke.
- Ice your shoulder for 10 minutes twice daily, especially following activity;
- Do a few days of dryland cardio training to allow the inflamed tendons to heal.
- Avoid training with tired muscles;
- Avoid sudden increases in training volume or intensity;
- Limit use of a kick board to avoid straining the shoulder muscles;
- Check with a coach on your stroke form to determine if imperfections may lead to shoulder problems.