Common Swimming Injuries and How Physiotherapy

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Swimming is a great sport suitable for individuals of all ages and levels of ability. This sport is relaxing and can be a joyful pastime among families and friends. In swimming, you use your arms and shoulders, back and chest, legs and feet to move through the water. This puts the core and upper and lower body into an excellent workout. Unfortunately, swimmers are at a high risk of getting injured. The good news is that there are many ways you can prevent swimming injuries; one of them is through physiotherapy

Common Swimming Injuries and How Physiotherapy Can Help

Swimming injuries are often a result of poor technique or overtraining. This is most common to those starting their swimming lessons as their core muscles may still be weak. Let’s take a look at some swimming injuries you may encounter.

Shoulder Impingement

One constant thing in swimming is the repetitive rotation of the shoulders. This inflames and weakens the muscles and tendons of the rotator cuff. As a result, pressure in the surrounding tissues emerges, which leads to inflammation, pain, reduced motion range, looseness in the joint, and minimized strength. Physiotherapy treatments can improve the motion of the swimmer’s shoulders.

Shoulder Instability

The feeling of instability in the shoulder can be due to weakened ligaments and rotator cuff muscles. Not taking care of the shoulder properly can lead to arthritis, bursitis, labral tear, and other conditions. To avoid this, physiotherapy can help in building up the muscles.

Rotator Cuff Tendinopathy

A rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons covering the shoulder joint. This important part of the shoulder stabilizes and mobilizes the shoulder’s shallow socket. Due to the repetitive action in swimming, the tendons can get tiny tears and cause inflammation. Through physiotherapy, swimmers can prevent or recover from this injury. Physiotherapy stretches and makes the shoulder stronger.

Medial Collateral Ligament Injury

One commonly known swimming stroke is breaststroke. The propulsive kicking motion it requires puts a great deal of stress on the ligaments in the knee joint, particularly the Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL). The ligaments can get overstretched, which can cause swelling, pain, and weakness. Minor MCL cases can be treated with physiotherapy. Injection therapies can also help promote healing in the damaged ligament. It may require surgery if the MCL is severely torn or damaged.

Swimmer’s Back Pain

Another common injury among swimmers happens in their backs. Swimmers get an impact on their backs whenever they perform a butterfly or breaststroke. This can cause pain in the lower back or lumbar spine. The swimmer’s back pain can be due to tight hip flexor or adductor muscles, limiting the body’s roll in front-crawl and making the lumbar region rotate more to compensate. This pain can include conditions like ligament or muscle strain, spondylolysis, or stress fracture in the vertebrae. Many types of swimmer’s back pain can be treated with physiotherapy. Others may require steroid injections or surgery.

Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

The neck of the swimmers is also prone to get injured. For instance, swimmers need to keep their heads above the water in breaststroke or rotate it during a crawl. This constant action puts stress on the spine’s muscles and ligaments. Swimmers need to learn the correct form in rotating their necks. Failure to do so can lead to thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS). This condition is characterized by the compression of nerves and blood vessels where the base of the neck meets your collarbone. If not treated properly, TOS can result in numbness, tingling, or weakness in the hand and pain in the neck, shoulder, or hand. Early diagnosis treated through physiotherapy can prevent re-injury and even surgery.

Patello-Femoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS)

Commonly known as “runner’s knee”, PFPS is a result of stress on the patellar tendon attaching the kneecap (patella) to the thigh bone (femur). Repetitive kicking action in swimming is one of the causes of this syndrome. Common PFPS symptoms include pain in the front knee and behind or in front of the knee cap. PFPS can be treated with physiotherapy as it helps build strength and flexibility in the knees.

Make Physiotherapy Part of Your Life

Are you a swimmer? No matter what skill level you are at, injuries should not surprise you. Whether you’re currently suffering from a swimming injury or want to take proactive preventive steps, consider physiotherapy. This holistic approach of treatment helps swimmers recover from different injuries. In addition, physiotherapists can recommend exercise programs and perform various manual techniques to identify any irregularities you may have to prevent swimming injuries.Consult a physiotherapist at Global Physiotherapy Sherwood Park Inc. to learn more about their assessments and rehabilitation services. The office welcomes injured athletes and gives them the appropriate recovery treatments. Keep your swimming endeavours safe with the help of physiotherapy.