Managing the amount you swim
Managing any swimming injuries you might get should be straight-forward. However, there are a few things you need to keep in mind.
Swimming is, after all, often recommended for overcoming injuries. So in a broad sense, it is beneficial. But problems can arise if you don’t follow some simple guidelines.
For example, most injuries in swimming are overuse injuries. They are typically caused by trying to do too much too soon. As the old adage says, slow and steady wins the race. If you are new to swimming or haven’t swum in a long time, build up slowly. Your body needs to adapt.
And swimming can be deceptively challenging.
So don’t dive in the at the deep end so to speak. Rest and recovery are as important for swimmers as with any other physical sport.
Managing the most common swimming injuries
By far the most common problem area for swimmers is the shoulder. Regardless of what stroke you adopt, the shoulders can take a heavy toll.
The shoulders are intricate and complex things. And they are not as powerful as some of the other muscles groups used to propel you in the water. The back (Latissimus Dorsi) and chest (Pectoral) muscles are bulky and strong and can withstand a lot of strain. The shoulders, on the other hand, are a mix of stronger (deltoid) and more functional (rotator cuff) muscles.
The shoulders, in particular, must be managed well. Good muscle balance, flexibility and mobility, and functional strength within the shoulder girdle all play a vital role in guarding against injury. Deep tissue massage for the shoulders and surrounding areas will help. And specific strength-building exercises for lesser-known muscles such as the Teres Major, Subscapularis and Supraspinatus can help guard against injury.
Some of these terms and exercises probably sound quite alien to you. Don’t worry, seek out some professional advice, and you’ll find little exercises and routines that can massively beneficial.
Other swimming injuries to watch out for
There are some other injuries beside inflammation and tears in the shoulders that you should be aware of. In particular, the lower back, the neck, as well as the biceps and triceps can be vulnerable.
All these areas can be particularly sensitive when performing the front crawl. It can be an exciting and fun stroke but involves rotation and a fair amount of pushing and pulling with the arms. In a nutshell, there are two key things to focus on to help avoid these injuries.
First, developing your core muscles in the trunk of the body will help you stabilise your body and the motion in the water. This can help protect your back and neck.
Second, it is worth investing in a couple of advanced swimming lessons. A good coach can iron out any bad habits you have that are causing you unnecessary strain.
A final word
Don’t let injury worries distract you. If you need help and advice or are in need of treatment, we would be happy to help.