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Shoulder issues



  • I am an adult rec swimmer. How many of you have shoulder issues and what do you do about it? I only swim between 1/2 - and 1 1/2 miles a day, and I do vary my strokes. Thanks!



  • I am an adult rec swimmer. How many of you have shoulder issues and what do you do about it? I only swim between 1/2 - and 1 1/2 miles a day, and I do vary my strokes. Thanks!

    My chiropractor gets me good results.

    There may also be aspects of your particular stroke technique and style that could be altered to avoid symptoms. A good stroke coach may help. Check out swimsmooth.com.



  • I'm in the exact same boat. I'm a thirty-something rec swimmer returning to the pool after many years off. I'm slowly building my times/distances back up, but I'm averaging about a mile each session.

    In high school, when I swam competitively and was putting in about 20 hours a week in the pool, I had an overuse injury to my rotator cuff - the solution at that point was just to take break.

    Now, I've got a sort of "pop" feeling in my shoulder in the power phase of pretty much every stroke. So, I went to my PT who suggested a few things:

    1. Get a massage. I did - MT discovered a wall of knots along my shoulderblade that need to be released. Several hours of work has lessened them, but it's a constant battle.
    2. Stretch! Warm up, stretch everything out gently. Cool down and stretch again. Also, foam roll your back and big shoulder/arm muscles before and after your workout. For me, I'm also using a tennis ball to work out the knots along my scapulae.
    3. Arnica gel or cream - I use Traumeel (now called T-Relief). It's great. My chiropractor also suggests taking Xyflamend Whole Body supplements to keep the general post workout aches and pains at bay.
    4. Strengthen your shoulder muscles outside of the pool. I've got free weights and some resistance bands to work the muscles supporting my shoulders - it's a preventative measure to keep my rotator cuff pain away.

    It's getting better! Shoulder "pops" are going away and everything feels good.



  • There may also be aspects of your particular stroke technique and style that could be altered to avoid symptoms. A good stroke coach may help. Check out swimsmooth.com.

    I checked out swimsmooth and found it quite helpful. One potential shoulder problem I had already fixed ( the bad habit of overcrossing) but today I paid more attention to making sure my hand was flat and not turned towards the thumb when pulling. I had a lot less pain today. Thanks for the tip!



  • In addition to the change you already made to you hand entry, I'd also suggest using your core to drive the rotation of your stroke. In other words, try to drive the forward motion using core rotation from your hips to shoulders, to both your breathing and non/ breathing sides. Use your arms to "steer", but use your core to "drive" the stroke--this will transfer the effort to your larger core muscles, rather than putting strain on your smaller shoulder muscles.



  • Hi and thanks for the tip. I'm not sure if I'm understanding you correctly. I breathe to both sides, so are you talking about swimmers who always breathe to the same side, or to the strokes when you aren't breathing? I think I rotate because when I use a pull buoy, my hips seem to swing and turn without my thinking too much about it. Or maybe I'm overcompensating for overly rotating through the core (if that is even possible)?



  • Hi, Suzanne. Many people rotate well to their breathing side, but stay flat on their non-breathing side. This can happen even when someone breathes to both sides. When you rotate using your core, it's easier and more comfortable to bring your arm out of the water on recovery. This also makes it easier on the shoulder.

    When you say you can feel your hips swing when you use a pull buoy, do you feel your legs "fish-tailing" behind you? If so, then I would say that's indicative of less rotation. When I talk about rotation, I'm referring to your body rotating on a long axis--imagine you're a chicken on a rotisserie, with your body from head to toe rotating as one whole unit. This rotation is driven forward from the core, and supported by the legs (a downward kick on the same side as you pull) , and steered by the arms (an upward kick on the same side as you enter). I hope this helps!



  • So today I got in the pool with my pool buoy, and it seems as if I half fishtail and half rotate on the axis.... I tried a few side kick laps where you take one stroke in the middle of the pool and flip and that didnˋt feel weird. I guess I need someone with a video camera to check me on this. Thanks for your help. My shoulder is doing better since I starteed really paying attention to whether or not my hand is rotated.



  • I constantly have problems with my shoulder and I swim for four hours total a day. The only day I skip swimming is Sunday. I am also a distance swimmer in college so I swim way more yardage. I understand the pain. What I found helpful and useful, is by doing shoulder stretches with a green elastic band that you can get at walmart or even your doctor. You can do the ABC's with each arm, you can go outward from your body and then up and down away from your body as well. Once those exercises are done and you swim your warm up, you can also stretch your whole body for at least 20 minutes and then your good to go for the practice. At the end of practice or swimming you can cool down and stretch your arms. Anyways thats what I do


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