Swimming is often touted as one of the best forms of exercise for both physical fitness and mental well-being. It's low-impact, easy on the joints, and can be a lot of fun. However, while swimming is generally considered a safe activity, it's not entirely without risk. In fact, swimming injuries are more common than you might think, ranging from minor issues like swimmer's ear to more serious conditions like shoulder impingement syndrome. Whether you're a seasoned swimmer or just getting started, it's important to be aware of these potential risks so you can stay safe and healthy in the water.

At Sports Medicine and Joint Replacement Specialists, our team of sports medicine specialists are highly-trained in identifying and treating multiple conditions related to sports injuries.

Here are some common swimming injuries to avoid.

Rotator Cuff Tears

Swimming is often considered a low-impact activity that is easy on the joints, making it an excellent form of exercise for individuals with joint pain or other mobility issues. However, while swimming is generally safe, it can still cause injuries, particularly to the shoulder joint. One of the most common swimmer injuries is a rotator cuff tear.

The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that help stabilize the shoulder joint, allowing for a wide range of movement. When these muscles and tendons are overused or subjected to repetitive stress, they can become inflamed or even tear. Swimmers are particularly susceptible to rotator cuff tears because the overhead arm movements required for swimming can place a lot of stress on these muscles and tendons. This is especially true for competitive swimmers who train for long hours each day, as the repetitive nature of their training can cause cumulative wear and tear on the rotator cuff.

Symptoms of a rotator cuff tear may include shoulder pain and weakness, as well as difficulty lifting the arm or reaching overhead. Treatment options may include rest, physical therapy, and in severe cases, surgery.

Preventative measures such as proper warm-up and stretching, gradually increasing the intensity and duration of swimming workouts, and taking breaks when experiencing pain or discomfort can all help reduce the risk of rotator cuff tears and other shoulder injuries.

Swimmer's Knee

Swimming is a popular and low-impact form of exercise that provides an excellent cardiovascular workout. However, swimmers are not immune to injury, and one of the most common injuries that can occur is swimmer's knee. Swimmer's knee is a condition that causes pain in the front of the knee, particularly around the kneecap. This pain is typically caused by overuse of the knee joint, which can occur from frequent kicking motions while swimming. Additionally, improper technique or lack of conditioning can exacerbate the problem.

Freestyle swimming, in particular, can put a lot of strain on the knees due to the repetitive nature of the kicking motion. Finally, swimming in cold water can cause the muscles around the knee to tighten, increasing the likelihood of injury. Overall, while swimming is an excellent form of exercise, it is important to take precautions to avoid swimmer's knee, such as using proper technique, warming up thoroughly before swimming, and gradually building up intensity and duration of swims.

Neck Strains

Swimming is an excellent form of exercise that can provide a full body workout, but it can also put a strain on the neck muscles. Neck strains are a common injury among swimmers and can be caused by a variety of factors. One of the main causes of neck strain in swimming is improper technique. Improper form during the freestyle stroke, for example, can cause the neck to twist or hyperextend, leading to muscle strain.

Additionally, frequent turning of the head to breathe while swimming can also lead to neck strain, as the repetitive motion can put a lot of pressure on the neck muscles. It is also important to consider the type of swimming pool or open water environment you are swimming in. Swimming in choppy water or currents can cause the head to move around more than usual, which can put additional strain on the neck muscles. Finally, swimming without proper warm-up and stretching can also contribute to neck strain.

To prevent these types of injuries, swimmers should focus on using proper technique, warming up properly, and slowly building up the intensity and duration of their swims. They should also listen to their bodies and take breaks when necessary to avoid overexertion. Overall, while swimming is a great form of exercise, it is important to take precautions to prevent neck strain and other injuries that can occur from the repetitive motions involved in swimming.

Hip Inflammation

Swimming is a popular form of exercise that provides many health benefits, but it can also cause inflammation in the hips. Hip inflammation is a common condition that can cause pain, discomfort, and limited mobility. There are several ways swimming can lead to hip inflammation. One of the most common causes is an imbalance in the hip muscles. Frequent kicking motions in swimming can cause one muscle group to become stronger than the other, leading to an imbalance in the hips. This can result in inflammation and pain.

Additionally, improper technique during the freestyle stroke, such as extending the legs too far apart or rotating the hips too much, can also contribute to hip inflammation. Swimming in cold water can also cause the hip muscles to tighten up, further increasing the risk of injury. Finally, overuse or repetitive motions can cause inflammation in the hip joints, particularly if swimmers do not give their bodies enough rest and recovery time between swims.

To prevent hip inflammation, it is important to use proper technique during swimming, warm up properly before swimming, and stretch after each swim. Swimmers should also ensure they are using proper equipment, such as fins or a kickboard, to help avoid overuse injuries. In cases of existing inflammation, it may be necessary to take a break from swimming to allow the body time to heal.

Overall, while swimming is an excellent form of exercise, it is important to take precautions to avoid hip inflammation and other injuries that can occur from the repetitive motions involved in swimming.

If you are struggling with a swimming or sports-related injury, contact our team of specialists at Sports Medicine and Joint Replacement Specialists for a personalized plan or schedule an appointment directly from our website today!