Swimming is one of the best forms of exercises you can do. Helping to strengthen the muscles and work out every part of the body, it can be great for your overall health. However, if you are a competitive swimmer, there are a few risks to be aware of such as Swimmer’s shoulder.
Swimmer’s shoulder can cause anything from mild inconvenience to intense pain. So, what is it and can you prevent this painful condition?
What is swimmer’s shoulder?
Swimmer’s shoulder is diagnosed when the tendons of the joint become inflamed and swollen. It is commonly caused by overuse of the shoulder when swimming. As the tendons become swollen and inflamed, they can press on nearby tendons, muscles, and bones. This is also referred to as shoulder impingement.
A type of shoulder tendonitis, swimmer’s shoulder can lead to more serious problems if it is left untreated. While professional swimmers are most at risk of developing the condition, impingement of the shoulder is something that can happen to anyone who overuses the joint.
The main symptoms to look out for with this condition include:
- Pain in the shoulder
- Difficulty when reaching overhead
- Swelling at the top or the front of the shoulder
- Pain felt when placing weight onto the arm
You will find the symptoms worsen during or after swimming. If you are diagnosed with swimmer’s shoulder, there are some great treatment options available.
Treatment options available
The main goal of swimmer’s shoulder is to manage the inflammation and pain within the joint. Some of the most common treatment options include rest, physiotherapy, medicine, injections, and exercise.
In severe cases, surgery may be required. This involves an arthroscopic procedure known as subacromial decompression. Any bone spurs and inflamed tissue is removed, freeing up space within the joint. It takes around eight weeks for most patients to get back to swimming after the procedure.
In most cases, swimmer’s shoulder can be cleared up without surgery. Anti-inflammatory medications and injections can be provided to ease pain and swelling. Physiotherapy can also help to improve motion within the shoulder, as well as build-up strength in the joint.
The right treatment for you will be determined during your consultation with a shoulder specialist.
Can you prevent swimmer’s shoulder?
While there are some excellent treatments available to treat swimmer’s shoulder, it is a better option to prevent it in the first place. If you are a keen swimmer, you can follow these prevention tips:
- Make sure you are using the proper form and technique
- Carry out shoulder strengthening and opening exercises
- Don’t overwork the shoulder, give it plenty of rest between training
If you suspect you have swimmer’s shoulder, book a consultation with one of our shoulder experts today. The earlier you seek treatment, the faster you can get back in the pool.