Swimmer’s Shoulder

Swimmer’s shoulder is not one specific injury, but rather a general term for a broad range of shoulder injuries that occur in swimmers. Due to heavy and extensive use of the shoulder during swimming, various injuries ranging from localized shoulder pain to shoulder pain that spreads into the arm is likely to occur. Swimmer’s shoulder does not generate from one specific injury, but rather by repeated trauma to the area due to overuse.

Your shoulder is a very mobile ball and socket joint. Because it is so mobile, and because of its heavy use during swimming, it is important for the body to contain the movement appropriately in order to prevent shoulder hypermobility and being overworked. When the shoulder is extended and moved in the same manner repeatedly, it can lead to problems in the ligaments such as rotator cuff impingement, inflammation of the tendons, capsule and ligament damage, as well as cartilage damage.

The rotator cuff plays a very essential role in providing shoulder stability and centralization of movement. It keeps the shoulder ball central over the small socket and allows for full shoulder movement. Inflammation or irritation of any of the rotator cuff muscles is likely causes of swimmer’s shoulder. These muscles include the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, and teres minor. The supraspinatus and infraspinatus are particularly vulnerable because they have locations where they are susceptible to being compressed into a harder, bonier surface (especially when the arm is lifted above the head when swimming). When this happens repeatedly, the muscles become very inflamed and tender and can lead to the break down of musculo-tendonous fibers as well as the formation of scar tissue.

There are a large number of causes of swimmer’s shoulder, and this makes proper diagnosis and treatment highly critical. Ward Chiropractic and Rehabilitation will work with you in four key ways to alleviate the injury:

  1. Correct any associated issues, if present.
  2. Localize and treat the impinged rotator cuff muscles
  3. Release any tight anterior musculature
  4. Strengthen any weak posterior musculature

Other treatments such as trigger point therapy, Active Release Technique, stretching, relaxation techniques, and massage therapy are also often used break up adhesions within the rotator cuff muscles. Swimmer’s shoulder responds very well to treatment when addressed promptly, and chiropractic treatment is a highly effective method in alleviating pain and returning the shoulder to its healthy state.

For more information on how Ward Chiropractic and Rehabilitation can help you with your swimmer’s shoulder injury, contact our office to schedule an appointment today.