Young Swimmer's Shoulder: Causes And Prevention


Swimming can be one’s hobby; it is also a popular professional sport that offers numerous physical and mental health benefits. But at the same time, it can lead to certain injuries, just like any other sport or physical activity during training sessions. One common injury that often occurs in young and even professional swimmers is the swimmer’s shoulder, which is also known as impingement syndrome.

This impingement is usually caused by improper implementation of the technique and over-training intensity. In this article, we have explored some of the common causes that swimmers must avoid while swimming and some prevention tips to enhance their performance.

Major Causes Of Young Swimmer’s Shoulder

1] Implementation Of Poor Technique

Implementation of proper technique is very crucial in any sports you are involved in. In the same way, poor technique can also contribute to shoulder injury in swimming. While swimming, improper hand placement, overreaching, or insufficient rotation can increase the strain on the shoulders.

Major Causes Of Young Swimmer’s Shoulder

2] Rapid Increase In Training Intensity

Though athletes need to push their limits in order to improve their performance, a rapid increase in training intensity can cause serious injuries. The same happens with young swimmers, where a sudden increase in training without adequate rest can lead to overuse injuries, including the swimmer’s shoulder. Besides, they need to push their limits to swim longer and harder in a strategic way.

3] Weakness Or Imbalance In Muscles

The shoulder muscles in swimmers can be strong and flexible to handle all the forces while moving. Weakness or imbalance in the muscles of the shoulders can make joints less stable and increase the risk of injury.

4] Growth And Development

The young muscles, bones, and tendons are at higher risk of the swimmer’s shoulder because they are in the developing phase. Therefore, adolescents or young age swimmers are the ideal victims of this impingement, and improper training may cause their shoulder joints to be more vulnerable to injuries.

5] Repetitive Overhead Movement

The main cause of a swimmer’s shoulders is the repetitive nature of swimming strokes, which can’t be ignored. Swimming strokes like butterfly, backstrokes, and freestyle need continuous arm movement, which may lead to accessive stress on the shoulder joints.

Also Check:- Sports Injury Rehabilitation For Swimmers: Find Out The Expert Tips

Prevention Tips For Young Swimmer’s Shoulders

1] Practising Proper Swimming Technique

The coaches need to ensure that young swimmers should practice the correct swimming technique. They must keep an eye on their body rotation, arm placement, and stroke mechanism to reduce young swimmer’s shoulders risk.

2] Strengthening And Conditioning Shoulder Joints

Coaches must also focus on incorporating strengthening and conditioning programs. Organizing such events can help to maintain shoulder stability in swimmers and reduce the risk of injury.

3] Engaging In Cross-Training

Swimmers can also engage themselves in cross-training, which means they can play other sports too. This will decrease the risk of overuse injury and help to activate different muscle groups, which ultimately improve their game.

4] Proper Warm-Up And Cool-Down

Just like any other sport, emphasizing a proper warm-up before swimming and cooling down after the practice session is crucial.  This may help to activate the muscles before training and relax after the session is over, which will ultimately reduce the risk of young swimmer’s shoulder and other injuries.

5] Early Detection

“Prevention is better than cure”:  the best advice that works all the time. Coaches can also teach their athletes to recognize the early signs of a swimmer’s shoulder. The early intervention, such as pain and discomfort and taking proper rest, can prevent the worse condition of injury.

Enhancing The Performance Of Young Swimmers

Swimming is a sport that requires repetitive overhead movements, and players have no other choice than to perform them. These are the reasons that may lead to injuries like a swimmer’s shoulders, which may turn worse if not take action. The athlete must immediately contact the sports physician or doctors for proper treatment and practice some specific exercises to cure impingement.

But it is said that “Precautions are better than cure”, and by following this, athletes can identify the cause beforehand and prevent it. So, coaches must teach their swimmers to detect the causes and implement effective prevention strategies to enjoy their sports safely for years to come.

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Dr. David G Kiely is a distinguished Medical Reviewer and former General Medicine Consultant with a wealth of experience in the field. Dr. Kiely's notable career as a General Medicine Consultant highlights his significant contributions to the medical field.

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