friends in the pool

Swimming Injuries and How to Treat Them

When you go for a refreshing dip, the last thing you want to come out with is pain. Unfortunately, this is not a rare occurrence, especially for those who don’t just cool off by dunking but actively swim laps. Whether you were aware of your injury before you dried off or only noticed it later, the doctors of Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine are here to help. 

We pride ourselves on being accurate diagnosticians as well as successful physiatrists. As such, we are specialists in rooting out the cause of your musculoskeletal pain and zeroing in on the most effective forms of treatment. We are a holistic, nonsurgical practice, so our focus is on alleviating your pain and improving not only your range of motion but your quality of life.

Common Swimming Injuries

Although any part of the body can be injured while swimming, neck and shoulder injuries are the most common, followed by injuries to the arms, legs, and low back. Common swimming injuries include:

  • Bursitis of the shoulder
  • Rotator cuff tendonitis or tendon tears
  • Shoulder impingement syndrome (pressure when the arm is lifted over the head)
  • Cartilage tears around the shoulder socket
  • Muscle strain, worn joints, or nerve compression in the neck or back
  • Bicep tendonitis
  • Strained ligaments of the knee (usually from breaststroke)

Swimming injuries range from mild to severe. Some may be relieved by simply resting the muscles involved. Icing the affected area and taking over-the-counter analgesics or NSAIDs as needed may also be helpful. If you have continuing or worsening pain, however, make an appointment to be correctly diagnosed and treated.

Causes of Swimming Injuries

Although some swimmers are hurt by using incorrect techniques, even proficient swimmers often experience repetitive stress injuries. Following is a list of some reasons swimming injuries occur:

  • Overtraining
  • Insufficient periods of rest
  • Poor stroke mechanics
  • Poor breathing technique that stresses the neck
  • Lack of strength, flexibility, or range of motion due to improper training, age 

or a disease condition like arthritis

  • Decreased strength in a particular area (e.g. rotator cuff, shoulder blade, hip) as a result of a congenital defect or previous injury or surgery to the area

In order to recover and restrengthen after a swimming injury, it’s important to be properly diagnosed in order to receive appropriate treatment.

Finding Out What’s Causing Your Pain

The doctors at Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine are keen diagnosticians, both in terms of physical examination and administration of imaging tests. Depending on your symptoms, which may include pain, inflammation, and limited range of motion at the site, we will be able to get to the root cause of your injury by:

  • Palpating the affected region and checking your movement capabilities
  • Administering X-rays, CT scans, or  MRIs to look at your bones, joints, and soft tissue
  • Using ultrasound-guided injections to show us precisely where your pain originates
  • Using electromyography (EMG) to detect neurological damage

If your pain is in your back, we may employ fluoroscopy-guided facet injections or discography to discover the precise location of your injury.

Treating Your Swimming Injury Successfully

Once you come to Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine, you’ll know that you’ve come to the right place. We have a strong record of healing injured swimmers rapidly and getting them back into the water. We use a combination of traditional and complementary therapies to give you the best chance of rapid, complete recovery. Depending on your particular problem, we may administer:

Contact Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine Today to Get Back in the Swim!