Swimming places tremendous physical demands on its athletes. The repetitive nature of the sport can lead to overuse swimming injuries.
For example, college swimmers swim up to 50,000 yards per week in training. Elite swimmers might swim as much as 20,000 yards per day. These numbers equate to huge numbers of shoulder revolutions.
These revolutions and other movements can cause injuries. Elite male swimmers have an injury rate of 4.00 injuries for every 1000 hours of training, while elite female swimmers have an injury rate of 3.78 injuries per 1000 hours of training. Shoulder injuries are not surprisingly the most common. Knee injuries and low back pain are common as well.
There are some steps that you can take to avoid swimming injuries despite your rigorous training.
Pay close attention to your technique. If your coach notices any change in your stroke mechanics, correct them before you develop pain. Once you start feeling pain, you might alter your technique just a little bit. This change in mechanics can exacerbate the problem. Make every effort to perfect your stroke technique in order to try to stay healthy.
Work traditional rehabilitation exercises into long-term prevention strategies. Learn exercises to strengthen the abdominal muscles, rotator cuff muscles, muscles around the shoulder blade, lower back muscles, and quadriceps and hip muscles and perform them regularly. This extra work might help you decrease the chance of suffering overuse problems.
Let your coach or an athletic trainer know that you are experiencing pain. Tell your coach and your parents that you are having pain during training. Depending on the severity and the location of the pain, you might not even need to stop swimming entirely. Maybe you only need to adjust your training in the pool or dryland training or do a short course of physical therapy. Seeing an orthopaedic surgeon early in the process might help your problem from becoming a more serious injury.