With upwards of a million people swimming for fitness and recreation each year, there are bound to be a few injuries that come along with the sport.
Although swimming doesn't breed problems the way high-impact sports do, it can cause its own set of injury issues.
Poor stroke mechanics and overtraining tend to be the main causes of the most common swimming injuries. "Listen to your coach's instructions on mechanics," says Marie-Christine Leisz, the medical director of the Endurance Sports Injury Clinic through Allina Hospitals and Clinics in Minneapolis. "Over time you will develop the kinesthetic awareness that will tell you where your body is in space."
More: 3 New Rules of Swim Training
As you hone your form and training plan, consider the following injuries, treatments and prevention tips to keep you from being sidelined.
Rotator cuff issues abound when it comes to swimmers.
"Shoulder injuries are the most common injury among swimmers," Leisz says. "It is a repetitive injury usually due to poor stroke mechanics."
Rotator cuff injuries are characterized by an inflammation and a sharp pain in the shoulder that worsens as the arm extends over the shoulder mid-stroke.
More: 3 Corrective Shoulder Exercises
More: 10 Swimming Tips for Beginners
Lower back injuries, which are oftentimes associated with the butterfly stroke, keep many swimmers out of the water. As swimmers rise out of the water and arch their backs during the butterfly, pressure is put on the lumbar vertebrae. Soreness in the lower back, stiffness and swelling usually accompany this issue.
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Creating pain on the inner side of the knee, breast stroke knee is usually a result of poor technique.
"With breast stroke you do the whip kick, so as you internally rotate your hips with a bent knee and hips, you turn your feet out, which can be hard on the medial knee," Leisz says.
More: Avoiding Shoulder Swimming Injuries
Pain increases as you continue to do the whip kick and will generally be tender and sometimes swollen following exercise.
The high head position required during swimming can cause a host of issues for recreational and competitive swimmers alike. Whether you are lifting your head out of the water or rotating it sideways to take a breath, these repetitive motions can lead to chronic pain.
More: Exercises to Prevent Swimmer's Shoulder
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