View Full Version : Shoulder Tendonitis

June 13th, 2003, 10:13 AM
I started swimming Master's 6 weeks ago (after not swimming for 15 years) as part of a weight loss program. I've lost 75 pounds in the last 15 weeks on Jenny Craig and currently weigh 250lbs. I swam DIV I in college 15 years ago and am trying to learn the, "New Style" of swimming.

I started doing double practices 10 days ago (7,500 yds/day) and have developed tendonitis in both shoulders (it's worse in my right). I have gotten much faster and feel great and don't want to stop swimming cold turkey.

Are there any suggestions for what I should do? Does anyone know of a good sports Dr. or PT in the Fort Worth, TX area I could go see? I'm currently strectching and icing 3 times a day and have cut down to 1 hr of swimming a day (as of 6/11/03). I don't want to give up this passion I have regainned. Are there new therapies or rehab exercises someone could suggest?

Thank you!

June 13th, 2003, 10:33 AM
You have likely increased the yardage too quickly. More importantly, over the past 15 years the muscles that support your shoulder(s) have weakened (including but not limited to the rotator cuff). I'd suggest a sports medicine orthopedist who will work with you so that you can continue to swim. He (or she) will evaluate the stability of the shoulders, rule out the possibility of a tear in the rotator cuff, and prescribe exercises to strengthen and stabilize the shoulders. Usually (but not always) tendonitis results from instability of the shoulder joint allowing the head of the humerus to trap or impinge one of the tendons within the joint. Ice and antiinflammatory meds help also. Finally, poor stroke mechanics contribute and need to be corrected. You probably should avoid butterfly for awhile. My understanding is that surgery can be avoided in most cases.

June 13th, 2003, 01:01 PM
hey- congratulations on your weight loss! wow- up to 7500 meters per day after a 15 year break? that's a lot of stress on your shoulders!! i've had my share of shoulder aches and pains and, generally speaking, i've found that moderate rest, technique adjustment, icing, ibuprofen and rotor cuff exercises helped. however, what has really helped in the last incident of shoulder pain was the introduction of short fins to my workout. since i've used them, the tendonitis has completely cleared up (the use of fins, unfortunately, has caused other problems with my training- does anyone know of a good fins' anonymous group? :) ). it may also help to be mindful of your sleeping positions at night.

good luck with it!

June 13th, 2003, 10:59 PM
I agree with the other 2 posters--too much too fast = shoulder problems.
The poster right above me though had a good suggestion--sleeping position! If you're a tummy sleeper DON"T wrap both arms around the pillow your head is resting on. This helps cause shoulder impingement syndrome. The best position, of course is on your back with pillows supporting your arms but not thrown up over your head.
Try sleeping, if on the tummy, with your ELBOWS LOWER than your shoulders. This will prevent the "jamming" effect of the humerus on your collarbone (my geography may be poor!). BUT--I've given this suggestion to others with early shoulder problems and it HAS helped. AGAIN--ELBOWS LOWER THAN THE SHOULDERS!!!! It's one variable that you can control while waiting for a doctor's appointment and training.
Also--stopping at an orthopedic surgeon or sports med specialist to get checked out is a good idea. You have no idea of the damage you may be causing your rotator cuff which is probably badly out of shape after 15 years. Exercises may be very beneficial along with some drug help.
Also--have someone check out your technique. I got into trouble
the summer of 1988 due to poor stroke mechanics and have been paying (meaning pain and surgery) ever since.

June 14th, 2003, 10:41 AM
There are lots and lots of previous posts on sore shoulders--
do a search at this site and you will find more good advice and
resources. As an aside, I had very sore shoulders in Jan
and Feb of this year. I started using Zoomers a lot to relieve
stress on the shoulders and at the same time stay fit
aerobically. The pain and soreness slowly subsided, and
in May I did PR's in a couple of distance events [after doing
Masters the last 13 years]. Go figure.;)

Paul Smith
June 14th, 2003, 07:38 PM
Great job on the weight loss, however I think the amount of "swim specific" training your doing in your masters career is WAY to much. Drop the doubles, mix in some yoga, weights, spinning, etc.

More importantly STOP swimming and got to kick only workouts until you get ths diagnosed. Speaking from expereince (shoulder surgery in 2000), as well as history (look at what Natalie Coughlin has acheived), this will be the best thing possible. Tendanitas doesn't heal from ice and PT, you have to rest the injured area).

Best of luck!

June 18th, 2003, 12:54 PM
It sounds like you've got yourself completely excited about swimming again, and may have done a little to much to quick. Get yourself checked out ASAP--so that you know what's wrong and it can be addressed immediately. Also, for now, Tall Paul is right--do some kick workouts with fins, which will really get that heartrate up, and workout those leg muscles. This will keep you going, while you rehab your shoulders.

Also, congratulations on the weight loss! That's awesome!!!