Injury Prevention

Generalised information for the prevention of sport’s injuries:

  • Wear the right gear: Players should wear appropriate and properly fit protective equipment such as pads (neck, shoulder, elbow, chest, knee, shin), helmets, mouthpieces, face guards, protective cups, and/or eyewear. Young athletes should not assume that protective gear will protect them from performing more dangerous or risky activities
  • Strengthen muscles: Conditioning exercises before games and during practice strengthens muscles used in play
  • Increase flexibility:  Stretching exercises before and after games or practice can increase flexibility
  • Use the proper technique: This should be reinforced during the playing season
  • Take breaks: Rest periods during practice and games can reduce injuries and prevent heat illness
  • Play safe: Strict rules against headfirst sliding (baseball and softball), spearing (football), and body checking (ice hockey) should be enforced. Stop the activity if there is pain
  • Avoid heat injury: by drinking plenty of fluids before, during and after exercise or play; decrease or stop practices or competitions during high heat/humidity periods; wear light clothing

Specific information for professional swimmers

·         Swimmer’s shoulder is the most common injury from swimming and needs early treatment. A sports physician or a GP with an interest in sport should diagnose the problem and arrange appropriate treatment.

·         Sometimes medication is required. It is not normal to have to swim with sore shoulders and the condition will get worse. Sometimes it is related to posture and physiotherapists can prescribe some exercises to do at home.


“Swimmer’s shoulder is an inflammatory condition caused by the mechanical impingement of soft tissue between the acromion and the corocoid process of the scapula (also known as the coracoacromial arch). Repetitive overhead arm motion of the freestyle stroke can cause this overuse injury, but there are ways to prevent this type of impingement”


Poor swimming technique is a major contributor to shoulder pain. If a swimmer crosses mid-line upon hand-entry, this may cause impingement of the long head of the biceps tendon. If a swimmer’s hand enters the water with the thumb pointing down and the palm facing outwards, this can result in the same type of impingement. By addressing proper entry, this condition may be avoided

Overtraining can lead to shoulder inflammation and pain. If the swimmer continues to swim with fatigued muscles, the condition may worsen. As the muscles fatigue they work less efficiently, which has two undesirable consequences. First, the muscles will have to work harder in a weakened condition. Second, the swimmer will have to perform more strokes to cover the same distance, which again overuses already fatigued muscles, perpetuating the cycle. Combined, these two factors can result in swimmer’s shoulder

Unilateral breathing may also cause swimmer’s shoulder. Swimmers that consistently turn their heads to one side are risking shoulder pain in the opposite shoulder. This shoulder has to work harder to support forward movement with the head turned to the side. Bilateral breathing transfers this load to both arms

Overuse of training equipment may cause shoulder pain. Using hand paddles that are too large places great strain on the shoulder muscles during the pull-through phase of freestyle. Using a kickboard with arms fully extended in front of the swimmer can place the shoulder in a position of impingement. The more often or longer the swimmer uses these devices, or uses them incorrectly, the greater the risk of shoulder impingement

Swimmers should avoid rapid increases in training distances or frequency of training, as this is likely to over fatigue the shoulder muscles leaving them at risk for impingement and shoulder pain

Strengthening shoulder and upper back muscles and stretching shoulder, chest, and neck muscles will help to prevent a swimming posture that is conducive to impingement. The muscle imbalance and inflexibility that typically occurs in swimmers contributes greatly to impingement







~ by pcl4 on August 4, 2008.

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