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Swimmer's Shoulder Common Questions!


Photo Courtesy Guy Maclean

With Rottnest Swim training in full swing this week we asked Emily Wiener one of our Physio's with extensive swimming background both as an athlete and coach some common questions asked about 'Swimmer's Shoulder'.


Swimmer's Shoulder is one of the most common injuries we see at PROmotion over Summer. What is Swimmer's Shoulder?


Swimmer's shoulder is a broad term often used to diagnose shoulder injury in swimmers. However, research has shown several specific shoulder injuries that often are incurred by the competitive swimmer. Structural causes can include hyperlaxity, scapular dyskinesis, subacromial impingement, labral damage and glenohumeral rotational imbalances. Other leading causes include reduced thoracic rotation, poor load management (often in lead up to event) and previous injury.


What are 3 quick tips to prevent shoulder injuries this open water season?


1. Load management: It is crucial to not jump into swimming where you left off. The body isn’t ready for it yet! You must make sure that you gradually return to the km’s you were doing previously. Building up from a strong base is best practice (no more than 10% increase week to week in training loads), and make sure you alternate from pool to ocean to let the body get used to the difference in buoyancy, tides and waves.


2. Thoracic rotation: The thoracic region is the area between your neck and lower back, which, typically, is very stiff. It is important to get your thoracic moving well throughout the swimming season, so you don’t overload your shoulder by making it do all the work!


3.Shoulder strength: Strength training is an important aspect for swimmer's to add to there training programs. Not only around the shoulder, but trunk and hips as well. Power generation can be improved with increased strength in the arms and lower limbs, which as a result decreases the load through structures in the shoulder prone to injury. Our team at PROmotion are trained at providing strength programs to reduce the risk of shoulder injuries in swimmer's.


Finally what are the top stretches for Swimmer’s to focus on over Summer?


Focus area's include:

  • Posterior shoulder release with spikey ball. Muscles to focus on are: Posterior rotator cuff, deltoids and upper trapezius.

  • Thoracic Extension using the foam roller

  • Pec Major stretch against door frame


If you are experiencing Swimmer's Shoulder or would like to get an injury prevention program put together this open water season the Physio team at PROmotion are ready to help you out! To book online click here or contact the clinic on 9284 4405.


References


Delbridge, A., Boettcher, C., & Holt, K. An Inside look at ‘Swimmers Shoulder’: Antero-superior Internal Impingement (ASII)‘A Cause of ‘Swimmer’s Shoulder’.


Tovin, B. J. (2006). Prevention and treatment of swimmer's shoulder. North American journal of sports physical therapy: NAJSPT, 1(4), 166.

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