If swimming is your sport - congratulations! You’ve selected one of the safest sports to participate in. Unlike contact sports, head and spine injuries are rare in swimmers (unless you’re a diver - but that’s another topic), and, in general, swimming is easier on your joints than activities like running. Contusions (bruises) and lacerations (minor cuts and scrapes) are less likely in swimming than they are in baseball, softball, and biking, to name a few other sports. But just because the stats say that swimming is relative safe doesn’t mean you’re in the clear. There are a few injuries that are common among swimmers and we have a few tips on how to reduce the likelihood that you will become injured while swimming and also how to best treat some of the most common swimming injuries.
Most Common Injuries Among Swimmers
Probably the most common injury among frequent and competitive swimmers is swimmer’s shoulder. Just like tennis elbow, swimmer’s shoulder is named as such because it is caused by the repetitive motion and overuse of a particular area that is key to success in the sport.
Knee problems are most commonly found among swimmers who specialize in the breaststroke. The unique way in each the knee bends, turns, and kicks out during the breaststroke can cause breaststroke swimmers to experience pain, inflammation, and even damage to cartilage and ligaments in the knee.
Lower Back Problems & Spondylolysis
A number of different strokes may increase pressure on the lower back and, in particular, the dolphin kick used by many swimmers during starts and turns can irritate and inflame the spine near the pelvis.
Did You Know?
- Some studies show that as many as 75% of swimmers will experience some injury during a season.
- Shoulder and upper arm injuries account for about a third of swimming injuries.
- Only about 60% of swimmer’s injuries occur in the water. Watch out for those slippery pool decks!
- The overall rate of swimming injuries aren’t dramatically lower than the injury rate in other sports, but the rate of serious or long-term injuries is substantially lower than in other popular sports like football, hockey, rugby, and wrestling.
How Chiropractic Care Can Help Swimmers
Whether or not you are injured, if you are a swimmer, you should consider regular chiropractic care. We can help keep you healthy, improve your performance, and reduce time away from swimming when you do get injured.
One of the best preventative measures any athlete at any level can take is to stay fit, strong, and flexible in the off-season. Our focus on whole-body health can help you achieve your off-season goals, which will make the beginning of the season - the most common time for an athlete in any sport to be injured - much safer. Your chiropractor will help you keep your spine healthy and flexible, while assuring that your alignment and muscle strength are ready for the next season.
While your coach and athletic trainers should guide you regarding how to heal tired muscles and overworked joints between practices and meets, we’re happy to be an active part of that process. If you are a swimmer who does not work with a coach or athletic trainers, we’re also happy to provide you guidance on this issues. Stim therapy, massage, and other chiropractic treatments can help prevent serious injury to commonly used joints, like swimmers’ shoulders and knees, or to areas like the lower back, where swimmers often develop problems.
Even if you swim for fitness a few days a week, we’d love to chat with you about how to improve your swimming fitness and avoid injury that might keep you out of the pool for weeks. Schedule an appointment with one of our board-certified chiropractors today to discuss swimming injuries and injury prevention for swimmers.