February 17, 2017
To win 21 Olympic gold medals you need to stay free of injury, especially from serious or reoccurring injuries, for the majority of your career. The best way to do this is not to have the best rehab plan, but to know what the most common swimming injuries are, and which one you are most susceptible to. Once you know what these are, then you can go about preventing yourself from picking up injuries and focus on training.
The most common swimming injuries occur in the shoulder, low back and neck. This is unsurprising as swimming is a more dominant upper body exercise, in comparison to many other sports.
The most common shoulder injury is ‘swimmer shoulder’. This is an impingement of the shoulder muscles, ligaments and bursa underneath the tip of the shoulder blade. It can occur due to restricted shoulder mobility, increased curvature and stiffness of the upper spine, weakness in the shoulder stabilising muscles or poor technique.
Low back injuries in swimmers generally occur due to facet joint irritation. These are small joints at the back of the spine that are irritated when your back arches. This injury is generally caused by weak abs, tight hip flexors or muscle spasms in the lower back.
Neck injuries in swimming generally occur due to weakness in the muscles of the mid back, stiffness in the neck joints and poor technique.
Finally knee injuries generally occur in swimmers doing breast stroke. This is because of the twisting movement that occurs during the lower limb stroke movement. This can lead to a meniscal tear within the knee joint. This is generally a strength issue of the muscle in the hip or knee, or stiff ness in the hip joint.
All of these swimming injuries can be prevented either with stroke technique correction, or a tailor made ‘prehab’ program to correct muscle imbalances epically in the upper body.