7 Common Swimming Sports Injuries

Injuries and Competitive Swimmers almost go hand-in-hand with the high-volume of training that one undergoes to stay or pull ahead of the rest of the field. In this article, we will take a quick look at some of the common injuries one can expect and why they come about.

Shoulder and Upper Arm Swimming Injuries

noneStarting from the top, we have the shoulders and upper arms. While swimmers are well known from their ‘god-like’ broad shoulders, it also gives them the most issues. In an ideal situation, the swimming stroke should provide the maximum amount of force to pull the swimmer through the water while maintain a “balanced” bio-mechanical stroke. An optimal bio-mechanial movement from a physiotherapist’s point of view is one where overall stress on the joints and soft-tissues are minimised.

One example of this movement is where the “ball” of the upper arm bone (humerus) is kept “centred” throughout the movement in the shoulder joint and not scraping against one-side of the joint. (read Scapular (Shoulder blade) Stability)

Two basic things can lead to a less than optimal swim stroke bio-mechanically speaking

  • Flexibility
  • Strength.

In both cases, too much or too little causes thing to be unbalanced. Common swimming sports injuries include

  1. rotator cuff tendonitis/impingement,
  2. biceps tendonitis,
  3. rotator cuff tear, and
  4. labral tear.


The second most common area of injury is the spine with the amount of rotation stress placed upon it. Common spine injuries from swimming include

  1. Neck and Back sprain/strain,
  2. Spinal Spondylolysis, and
  3. Spinal Disc derangement.

The other areas of the body that get injured frequently in sports like the knee are not really that common as a direct result of swimming.  Areas like fingers and toes are more of a result of hitting them against the pool wall than from over-training.

Treating and preventing these injuries is best done with your physiotherapist and your swim coach working together to come up with a rehab and training plan.

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