Common Swimming Injuries and Non-Surgical Treatment Options

Swimming is a popular and comparatively safe sport enjoyed by many. This no-contact sport involves consistent speeds in a predominantly predictable environment, which may help to minimize traumatic injuries for participants. People who engage in swimming competitively or regularly swimming as exercise have some risks of injury with this activity, however. The most common swimming injuries occur as a result of overuse, often involve the shoulders or muscles in the legs. Kinetic Sports Medicine offers minimally invasive and non-operative management and patient care to assist with activity-related shoulder and hamstring injuries.

Common Swimming Injuries

Anyone who swims regularly, whether recreationally or competitively may experience injuries as a result of overuse. Although the low-impact buoyancy of the water insulates swimmers from many typical sports injuries, several issues are common, especially for competitive swimmers. Swimming long distances leads to fatigue, which can lead to lapses in stroke techniques. These lapses can cause tendonitis and micro-trauma in joints.

Swimmer's shoulder is one of the most common shoulder/swimming injuries. Rotator cuff impingement happens when the tendons surrounding the rotator cuff become inflamed from overuse or from improper stroke technique. When the shoulder joint becomes unstable, a swimmer might also experience biceps tendonitis as the bicep muscles tries to overcompensate for the weakened rotator cuff.

Lower extremity injuries are also a risk. Swimmers who specialize in the breast stroke may experience tendon issues in their hips and knees. When executing the whip kick, the rotating action may injure the medial collateral ligament in the inner side of the knee. Hamstring muscles are involved with swimming a variety of strokes, including the front crawl, breast stroke, back stroke, and butterfly in swimming. Hamstring injury may necessitate one resting their legs and focusing on the strength of the upper body to limit hamstring usage.

Traditional Treatment Methods

When an activity-related injury occurs, a swimmer generally needs to rest to prevent further escalation of the injury. A physician may recommend icing the injury site, as well as anti-inflammatory medication to help reduce swelling. If a shoulder or knee injury is severe involving a tear in a tendon, a physician may recommend surgery to repair the issue. After surgery, the typical rehabilitation process involves physical therapy to help the swimmer regain muscle strength and range of motion.

Alternative Treatment Options

Activity-related pain in the shoulder, swimming injuries, and injuries specific to overuse may be treated with alternative therapies, such as non-surgical stem cell and platelet-rich plasma injections. People with rotator cuff tears, for example, often experience reduced pain and increased function after these procedures. Our non-operative treatments involve using a patient's own stem cells or enhanced plasma to encourage regrowth and regeneration of cells at an injury site. Sometimes even a single injection can be enough to help a patient make measureable improvement.

Dr. Richard Kim of Kinetic Sports Medicine has devoted his sports medicine practice to offering non-surgical solutions to resolve pain and heal injuries. His practice uses newer technologies and non-invasive techniques to treat chronic activity-related pain in athletes and those interested in maintaining an active lifestyle. Call us today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Kim. We will help you learn more about our services.