While many probably consider swimming a relatively safe sport, injuries can still put these athletes in hot water. Katie Varnado, ATC from the ATI Sports Medicine department knows about swimming injuries first hand from her work with these athletes. Here’s what Katie has to say…
What injuries are common…
- Swimmer’s Shoulder: The shoulder is the joint most commonly injured, and may include rotator cuff impingement, biceps tendinitis and shoulder instability. All can result from overuse, fatigue and weakness, especially when proper techniques are not used.
- Swimmer’s Knee: This injury occurs during the breaststroke because of the “whip kick,” which places all of the force of the kick on the outside of the knee. The inner ligament of the knee, called the medial collateral ligament, is put under stress.
- Other Lower Body Injuries: Breaststrokers may experience pain from inflammation of the hip tendons. Lower back disk problems or spondylolisis, a stress fracture in the vertebrae of the spine, may be caused by the dolphin kick.
Katie recommends these tips to help prevent injury. In addition to stretching, there are specific things a diver can do to help ward off a repetitive injury:
- Understand and focus on proper stroke techniques
- Lessen repetitive strokes that are causing the overuse injury
- Perform core strengthening and cross-training exercises as part of pre and early season routines
- Be sure to warm-up and cool down after activity and use periods of rest to recover
- Focus efforts on rotator cuff and scapular strengthening for most shoulder injuries, and pelvic and hip strengthening exercises for hip and knee injuries
- Speak with a sports medicine professional or athletic trainer if you have questions about injuries, exercises and prevention