Shoulder Pain during Swimming
Every sport comes with its set of injuries that may bring an athlete down and force him off the arena for days and maybe months a time. While swimming is not a sport that is known to bring about lots of injuries, the most common injury experienced is that of the shoulder. What may start off as mild shoulder pain during swimming a slightly more intense routine can turn into serious issues of the rotator cuff-the joint which keeps your shoulder functional. As a result, shoulder pain from swimming should not be ignored. Additionally you should be aware of the causes of this pain and how you may avoid it so as to maintain a healthy shoulder and an active swimming lifestyle.
Causes of Shoulder Injuries due to Swimming
If you are experiencing some kind of shoulder pain from swimming, in nine out of ten cases there is something wrong with your swimming technique. Consulting a doctor will usually get you the answer that the pain is occurring due to overuse of the shoulder unless it is an actual injury in which case the doctor will be able to point out the problem. However, it is essential to understand that shoulder pain from swimming does not occur due to overuse but due to these mistakes that you might be making:
- Using an Improper technique while swimming.
- Overreaching with every stroke and thus having to rotate your body at greater angles than its natural reach.
- Crossing the two fields of your hands while pulling yourself forward during the freestyle stroke.
- Swimming the same stroke, particularly freestyle every time you workout.
- Increasing the time and intensity of your swim workout suddenly.
- Constant usage of paddles and buoys which strain your shoulders beyond the healthy level.
Although shoulder pain from swimming is a common problem that can occur easily due to small mistakes that you may be making, this discomfort can easily be avoided by paying a little extra attention to your workout and following a few of these simple guidelines.
Use the Proper Technique
One of the essential techniques to avoid shoulder pain from swimming, particularly during freestyle is to make sure that you bend your elbows under the water while pulling yourself forward. This avoids the shoulder moving awkwardly which is one of the main things that causes the rotator cuff to be problematic.
If you have taken a break from swimming for a while, no matter how intense your workout was before, take it easy when you come back to it. Jumping back into the same routine after a break can apply unhealthy strain on to your shoulders.
Stay Away from Pull Buoys and Paddles
If you want to avoid shoulder pain from swimming, stay away from pull buoys and paddles no matter what. Granted, they are tempting to use because they add a sense of professionalism to your workout, but buoys and apply excess tension on to your joints especially your shoulders and this should be avoided. Also, there may be paddles designed so that they don’t lead to shoulder problems but give them enough time, and they will.
Try Different Strokes
Swimming only one stroke during all your workouts increases the risk of an overuse injury to your shoulders. Therefore, you need to keep changing strokes during your workout.
Breathing only on one side causes the muscles on that side to be stronger and is a common cause of shoulder pain from swimming. Learn to breathe bilaterally and avoid this pain.