PDA

View Full Version : Shoulder pain/discomfort



cmolnar65
November 23rd, 2017, 01:31 PM
Probably the age old question:

About 3 months ago I began to add more and more freestyle (crawl) to my swimming workouts in preparation for an open water event. Sounds stupid, but it is not my favorite stroke, I am more centered and comfortable with breaststroke. I am sure because of poor technique I may have re-injured my left shoulder, same shoulder that used to give me problems in high school and college swimming years and years ago.

I have not been swimming for close to two months, been on some steroids and NSAID's as well. Still have a little discomfort with the full range of motion, but thinking that I could get back into the water for some workouts. I am in my 50's, and because of an Achilles injury I rely on swimming for my exercise (and sanity). People I work with REALLY want me to get back into the pool as well.... something about being grumpy :-)

Suggestions for returning to my routine? Before I did whatever I did I was a 6-10K a day swimmer, two days a week and 5-6K, three days a week.

Thoughts?

scyfreestyler
November 23rd, 2017, 04:40 PM
My suggestion would be to let pain be your guide. If you reach your limit after only a few hundred yards, then spend the rest of your time in the water kicking. Good luck in your return to the pool. I went through a similar swimming setback a number of years ago as I was just getting into the sport and it often seemed like it was 2 steps forward and 1 step back. Frustrating for sure, but worth the effort.

cmolnar65
November 23rd, 2017, 04:58 PM
Thanks. I have been through this once before but I was MUCH younger. I am concerned because of age at this point.

flystorms
November 24th, 2017, 10:17 AM
I struggled with a lot of shoulder pain and popped NSAIDs like candy for a while. Then I found a good coach who corrected my stroke (which I asked the crappy coach to do multiple times), and the pain all but disappeared. See if someone can help you with your stroke and you might get some relief.

Swimspire
November 24th, 2017, 01:26 PM
Flystorms is absolutely right - find a coach who can analyze and correct your technique before trying to get back to where you were. Here's an article about Palm Beach Masters swimmer Eddie Ames, who made a comeback from labral tears in both his shoulders and avoided surgery by adjusting his swimming technique: http://www.swimspire.com/eddie-ames-competitive-swimmer/

guppy
November 25th, 2017, 09:57 AM
Flystorms is absolutely right - find a coach who can analyze and correct your technique before trying to get back to where you were. Here's an article about Palm Beach Masters swimmer Eddie Ames, who made a comeback from labral tears in both his shoulders and avoided surgery by adjusting his swimming technique: http://www.swimspire.com/eddie-ames-competitive-swimmer/

Note the article says Eddie Ames also got physical therapy.

swoomer
November 25th, 2017, 11:18 PM
I’ve had a couple of bouts with shoulder pain which have turned out to be impingement syndrome. After consultation with a sports MD and the “cortisone cocktail”, I was advised to breathe to my non-breathing side...yes, very awkward, but good for you. You instantaneously find your flaws and receive relief from your pain. At first, you might be slower, but as you find your balance, you’ll get faster. And going forward, you’ll be able to breathe to both sides and watch your competition.

Windrath
November 26th, 2017, 10:57 AM
I apologize for the long post – pretty much unavoidable.

A couple of suggestions from someone who has managed shoulder pain, on and off, for the better part of 45 years (injuries from water polo, bike accident, weight lifting) and pretty much every day for the past 10 years. My point is - this is something you CAN manage. It is NOT an all or nothing proposition that so many swimmers make it out to be.

First - stay in the water even if you only kick and even if you have to have your left arm at your side. After my bike spill, I swam with my left arm at my side for 3 months. I swam slowly – who cares. Not using one arm will make you aware of how to use your torso to facilitate swimming. Self-awareness will improve your swimming.

Second – finding a coach who understands pain-related stroke mechanics will help. Unfortunately, not all coaches are good at this. This kind of coach can look at a stroke and, knowing where/when your pain is, can offer suggestions fairly quickly on technical adjustments that might help. For instance, you said your left shoulder is the problem. Although you don’t say what side you breathe to, if it only hurts when you breathe to the right, there is a good likelihood that your left arm is “hyper-extended” during your breathing motion. This “hyper-extension” can be in one or more planes and caused by incorrect head position (is it because you are practicing buoy sighting?), too much rotation onto your left side or not enough rotation onto your right side during your left arm recovery, incorrect right-side pulling pattern (i.e. outside your body and early rotation), arthritis/scar tissue, etc.. A good coach will be able to identify the specific cause and offer alternatives.

Third – “Good” technique that hurts will drive you out of the pool. Technique has to be individualized and should be pain free. For example, “High Elbow” catch as done by the Olympians does NOT work for swimmers with less shoulder flexibility and will lead to injury. BUT, you can perform a modified “high elbow” catch if you let your arm be deeper in the water and allow your arm/hand to “cross” under your body (heaven forbid). As we age, we have to adjust our stroke mechanics to match decreased flexibility (aka range of motion) and strength. Again, a good stroke coach will be able to offer alternative ways to swim that are pain free.

Fourth – there is a huge library of information on shoulder issues on the internet. Sorting through all of it is daunting. A PT may be able to help you. Isometric exercises and some stretching helps me.

Fifth – avoid cortisone and NSAIDs. Oddly enough, pain/discomfort can be your “friend” because it tells you when your technique is harmful. If the pain is masked, injury will continue to occur – you just won’t know it. I apply a simple philosophy – “The best technique is the one that does not hurt, so, if it hurts, do something different - anything.”

Good Luck

Swimspire
November 26th, 2017, 11:16 AM
Note the article says Eddie Ames also got physical therapy.

Absolutely. In the context of an injury, the main goal of a stroke coach is to find the root cause of the injury by analyzing the swimmers' stroke, and attempt to correct it. Ideally, this would be achieved *before* an injury occurs, or at least when the injury is minor and can be addressed by a stroke modification. However, when an injury progresses to the point of surgical consideration, all available options must be utilized, including physical therapists and orthopedic consultants. Once again, the ultimate goal is to improve technique to avoid injury or to assist in injury recovery. This is difficult to achieve in a team workout setting. Try to work one on one with someone proficient in stroke technique, whether that is your coach or a separate swim consultant.

VintageDirt
November 27th, 2017, 10:55 AM
“High Elbow” catch as done by the Olympians does NOT work for swimmers with less shoulder flexibility and will lead to injury. BUT, you can perform a modified “high elbow” catch if you let your arm be deeper in the water and allow your arm/hand to “cross” under your body (heaven forbid).

Good Luck

Hmmm, this sounds exactly like my problem and possible solution. Thanks!

Wes

Rurrell85
December 1st, 2017, 01:15 PM
I was having the same thing due to a car accident. I found that doing some light weightlifting before swimming helped me. Don't know if it would be the same for everyone though.