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Swimming Knee Pain

October 1, 2019

Knee pain is the second most common musculoskeletal complaint among elite swimmers. As many as 34% of swimmers complain of knee pain.

Swimming related knee pain is closely linked with the type of stroke that swimmers engage in. Breaststroke swimmers endure the highest rate of knee pain. Out of the demographic of swimmers that present with knee pain, 86% of them are breaststroke swimmers. This is most likely associated with the inside of the knee being compressed as the knee flexes throughout the stroke.

Most knee pain in swimmers occurs at the inside or medial aspect of the knee. Evidence surrounding swimmers’ knee pain attributes it to irritation of the medial meniscus, which is the cartilage at the inner portion of the knee, or swelling in the fat pad of the knee. A second cause of knee pain in swimmers is patello-femoral mal tracking due to increased roation of the thigh during the stroke.

The risk of knee pain increases with a number of risk factors. The number of years training increases the risk of knee pain in swimmers. Ageing is another intrinsic risk factor to the development of this complaint in swimmers. Unfortunately, these are uncontrollable variables. Swimmers can however modify the additional risk factor of training volume, intensity and strokes utilised during training.

To prevent knee pain during swimming, and exercises program should include gluteal and vastus medialis strengthening, as well as improving hip internal rotation. We will discuss a comprehensive dry land prehab program in the last blog in this series.

If you have any questions on knee pain when swimming, call our dublin physiotherapy clinic on 01 441 0100.