From the minute your fingertips touch the water to anxiously awaiting the scoreboard at the end of the meet, make sure your body is safe and healthy while you swim. Whether it’s competitive swimming or just hanging out by the pool on a warm summer day, if you feel lingering pain from swimming, it’s in the shoulders!
A common issue swimmers are faced with is Forward Shoulder, or more commonly called Swimmer’s Shoulder. If you’ve suffered it, you know it can affect your posture and mobility. Let’s take a deeper dive!
Swimmer’s Shoulder is extremely common because of the constant repetitive motion and pressure put on the area. If you’ve even moderately spent time swimming laps, you know that your arms are in constant rotation. This type of frequency and movement places a lot of stress on the shoulder muscles and joints.
In medical terms, Swimmer’s Shoulder is an inflammatory condition caused by impingement of soft tissue between two bones that meet in the shoulder. Luckily, you can keep freestyling because there are steps to prevent this injury.
Preventing Swimmer’s Shoulder
The first step to prevention is to examine your posture. Inside and out of the pool, posture is a big problem for most athletes, and non-athletes alike! Most of us sit at a desk all day hunched over our computer or on our phones, and we are constantly straining our necks and backs.
For swimmers, when you have proper posture and alignment you minimize the chances of injury. Take steps to better your posture by sleeping on your back, foam rolling your spine, practicing shoulder mobility stretches and strengthening your rotator cuffs! Whenever you are in the water, focus on your technique to make sure your body is healthily aligned.
If you feel pain or discomfort in your shoulders, don’t wait to get treated! That’s the biggest issue I see in my patients is them waiting too long for a recovery that won’t happen on its own. In fact, delaying treatment makes the injury worse. Depending on the severity of the injury, there are multiple levels of treatments for swimmer’s shoulder.
I’ve integrated the 5 for 5 rule when treating pain. If an athlete doesn’t get better after 5 days of conducting these 5 in-home treatment routines – ice, heat, stretching, self-myofascial release (or foam rolling), and strengthening – then they need to see a trained sports therapist!
Our team of doctors and chiropractors at Next Level Wellness Center can provide analysis and teach movements and stretches to get you back in the water!
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