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Swimming is one of the most low-impact fitness activities, which is also recommended as a recovery or training activity for other sports. But like any other activity, it is also prone to injuries especially in competitive swimmers.

Common Injuries

Some of the common injuries from swimming are:

  • Swimmer’s Shoulder

This includes a range of shoulder injuries, usually caused by overuse and incorrect stroke technique. Pain, fatigue and inflammation of the shoulders and the surrounding muscles are its symptoms. In chronic cases there can be labral tears and rotator cuff tears.

  • Breaststroker’s Knee

Pain and inflammation develops in and around the knee, which could be due to wide kick and over-rotation of the knees during breaststroke.

  • Neck Injuries

This occurs due to poor technique, especially in freestyle stroke, where the head should be in line with spine with eyes looking straight down.

  • Back Injuries

Swimmers complain of back pain due to hyperextension or stretching for long periods during front strokes, sign of improper technique. There will be pain while getting in or out of the pool. Some of the injuries include:

  1. Spondylolysis
  2. Spondylolisthesis
  3. Scheuermann Kyphosis
  4. Degenerative Disc Disease
  • Swimmer’s Itch

This is a short-lived itchy skin rash, of small reddish pimples, is caused by parasites, which clears up within a few days but is not contagious.

  • Muscle Cramp:

The leg or arm muscles involuntarily contracts and doesn’t relax, leading to pain, sudden stiff and tight muscles and restricted movement.


The main causes for the Swimming injuries are:

  • Overtraining
  • Poor technique
  • Sudden Spike in the workload

Some of the other factors for injuries in swimming are:

  • Joint stiffness or swelling
  • Muscle tightness
  • Body anomalies
  • Poor motor control and planning
  • Poor Scapulohumeral rhythm, pattern of muscle contractions and motion occurring between scapula and humerus (upper arm bone).
  • Poor joint range of motion
  • Inadequate warm-ups and cool-downs.
  • Weak core stability
  • Inadequate Proprioception and balance.



Get the best treatment for swimming Injuries from the Best Orthopaedic Surgeon Dr Banarji B.H 


Authored by Dr Banarji B.H - Shoulder Surgeon, Bangalore

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Baby Das

Last one year I was suffering from acute shoulder pain on my left shoulder. I went to several doctors, but not diagnosed.

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