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swimmer's shoulder

Prevention and Treatment of Swimmer’s Shoulder

Swimming is considered a good all-around workout because it builds endurance and muscle strength. It also keeps your heart and lungs healthy. It is also suitable for all ages (of course with proper training and guidance).

How To Identify If You Have Shoulder Injury From Swimming?

Swimmer’s shoulder is a term that covers a range of painful shoulder injuries caused by overuse that commonly occurs in swimmers. Since various parts of your shoulder can be damaged from your swimming stroke, the pain can be anything from a local pain along the shoulder joint to a spreading pain that travels from up your neck down to your arm. Swimmer’s shoulder being an overuse injury is caused by repeated trauma rather than a specific incident.

A fairly accurate and simple test can be done to know if you have swimmer’s shoulder or (subacromial impingement). It is called the arc test and you can do it by standing and raising your arm out to the side all the way above your head. You will start to feel pain at around 40°-60° of abduction. As you pass 120° of abduction, your shoulder rotates so your palm faces in and the pain starts to fade away.

When you figure out which part hurts and which movement causes it, then you should stop doing it. Every time you repeat a movement, it brings back the pain which increases the possible inflammation and bring more damage to the area.

Exercises To Prevent And Treat Swimmer’s Shoulder

There is also a need to strengthen the rotator cuff muscles in your shoulder joint. The best way to do so is by putting your arm in the neutral position (with your elbow at your side), and try the following:

Internal Rotation

Photo credits to orthoinfo.aaos.org

Attach a theraband to something stable and hold on the other end. Do this while keeping your elbow at your side and at 90 degrees you externally rotate your arm. Repeat this 15 times in a controlled manner.

Abduction (Snow Angel)

Photo credits to patienteducation.osumc.edu

Stand against the wall and tuck your chin. Slowly raise both arms up to shoulder height. Hold position for at least 5 seconds, then slowly raise both arms all the way up. Hold position for at least 5 seconds. Return arms to original position. Repeat 15 times.

Scapular Retraction/ Scapular Squeeze

Photo credits to cccc.edu

This can be done sitting or standing, just make sure you have your back straight and arms to your sides. Squeeze your shoulder blades together. Perform three sets of 10 repetitions.

Seeking professional form of physical therapy such as osteopathy, physiotherapy, and or by visiting a chiropractor can speed up the recovery of injuries like this.

Exercise and living a healthy lifestyle also expedites your recovery so don’t forget to take care of yourself. Don’t let swimmer’s shoulder keep you from doing what you do best. If you experience lasting pain that interferes with your daily routine, it is best to visit your primary care physician to have a proper check-up or give us a call to book a no obligation appointment. We’re here to help.

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