Although swimming is non-load bearing, considered low risk for injury and an excellent sport for all round fitness, overuse injuries can occur due to the repetitive nature of the strokes. Elite swimmers may train for five miles per day and even club swimmers and triathletes will often cover two miles in a session a number of times a week. This amount of activity can put strain on the shoulder, knee, hip and lower back joints depending on the strokes used.
With overuse comes fatigue and the failure to perform proper stroke technique. Some swimmers are also very flexible and lax ligaments and joints will be more susceptible to injuries. The shoulder is the most common joint to be injured (front crawl) but knees and hips (breastroke) and also lower back (butterfly) can be affected.
As with any overuse injury, prevention is better than cure. Here are some tips that may help you to stay fit and well:
- Sort your technique out before increasing training load. Get some proper coaching and make sure you concentrate on performing each stroke correctly.
- Increase training load slowly, no more than 10% increase of distance or intensity per week.
- Regular strength and conditioning sessions, on land, should include core work and cross training to reduce the strain on swimming muscles.
- Use a mixture of strokes, drills and technique work during your training session to avoid constant use of the same muscles.
- Have regular rest days.
- Seek professional treatment whenever you feel an injury may be developing. Catching it early will improve the likelihood of a speedy recovery.
If you need help and advise with any injury and want to talk it through, please feel free to contact me .