What Cause’s Swimmer’s Shoulder?
Swimmer’s shoulder is complex. And like many things in life, it can’t always be explained by one specific cause. It is likely a combination of the following risk factors.
Inadequate Dryland Training
Inadequate dryland can mean two different things. Either you aren’t doing enough dryland training or the dryland training you are doing is not well rounded. If you don’t do enough dryland training, your body is less likely to handle the demands on swimming.
If your dryland program is not well rounded, you run the risk of overtraining certain muscle groups or leavingyour muscles too fatigued for your pool workouts. Both extremes can increase your risk of Swimmer’s Shoulder.
You probably have heard the phrase “too much, too soon.” Doing too much, without the proper recovery and build up can increase your risk of developing Swimmer’s Shoulder. A common example is coming back to swimming after an extended break. Many swimmers are guilty of resuming their normal routine too quickly. Some swimmer’s come away unscathed, but for others their shoulders start to feel painful and begin to ache after a short while.
Using hand paddles, by itself, is not a risk factor. However, using hand paddles for a large portion of your workout can bring on Swimmer’s Shoulder. While using paddles can make your workouts more enjoyable, limiting how much you use them can go a long in way in preventing any shoulder injuries.
If you think about how many strokes you take in the pool each swim, you quickly realize that any technique flaw can add up over time. Some of the most common technical errors I see swimmers make are lack of body rotation, crossing your midline during hand entry, and a thumb-first hand entry.
As a physical therapist who specializes in the treatment of swimmer’s issues, technique errors comprise some of the biggest risks I see for developing Swimmer’s Shoulder. Any small improvement in technique can take the stress off your shoulder while improving your performance.