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Swimming puts a unique demand on the body because of different motions of each stroke and the high level of training it takes to improve speed and technique.
At Children’s Hospital Colorado, our Sports Medicine experts understand the sport of swimming and the demands it puts on joints and muscles. We also specialize in the methods for recovering from injury and preventing future injuries – all to provide young athletes with the most sports-specific care possible.
Watch to learn how competitive swimmer Kiana overcame "career-ending" injuries by working with our sports medicine physical therapy program.
Propelling the body through water using the arms, trunk and legs works a young athlete’s joints in a very different way than any other sport or activity. This unique aspect of swimming, combined with the high repetition of motion and large joint motions required by certain strokes can often lead to pain in the shoulder area, knees or spine. This pain may require an evaluation by a sports and orthopedics-trained provider.
Common swimming injuries we treat include:
New swimmers, along with experienced swimmers who have recently changed their level of training, are more susceptible to overuse injuries. In general, female swimmers experience shoulder pain more frequently than males.
As a swimmer initially begins the sport, increases training, or returns to swimming after time away, muscle-area soreness is normal and expected for the first week to two weeks. However, any pain that is sharp, at the specific joint that lasts for several weeks, or progressively gets worse should be evaluated by a medical professional.
As a coach, it is critical to progressively increase the amount and intensity of your team’s training at about 15 to 20% per week. A good dry-land training program that addresses flexibility, rotator cuff and shoulder girdle stabilizer muscles and core muscles 2 to 3 times per week is also important in preventing overuse injuries and for improved performance.
Check out our sports articles, written by our Sports Medicine experts. You'll find advice and tips for parents, coaches, trainers and young athletes.