View Full Version : Injury Recovery

June 6th, 2004, 08:03 AM
I ended up with a nasty case of shoulder tendonitis from swimming (and probably weight lifting too). Per Physical Therapist directions, I took a month off of swimming. Then he said to add back 10 minutes per workout of swimming every week or 2 and if it hurts back off. Has anyone had to do something like this before? When you did get back to an hour long workout what did you do to help prevent re-injury? The PT thinks I just added on too much at once. I had been doing 40 minutes three times per week for a long time then went to 1 hour 3 times per week and that's when the problem started.

I have searched on injuries but the posts are more about medical help which I've already gotten, not about how to workout afterwards.

Lucky McCharm
June 6th, 2004, 11:06 AM

I am a physical therapist who treats alot of swimmers. From my experience the shoulder pain is the symptom but not the cause of the problem. Did the therapist ever look at you swim ? because that can have a major impact on your recovery. Typically shldr injuries comes from swimming too flat @ the recovery phase in freestyle. Also make sure you have good core strength @stability to sustain your swimming posture . Recovery can be slow but stick with it , let the body tell you when its ready. I have no doubt that you will enjoy it more when you do return. There lots of ways to stay in the water by doing drills , for example work on kicking without a board emphasising correct body position. Remember if you had a BMW you would probably go to a mechanic that specializes in that so it is vital that you do the same for your body .

Good Luck;)

June 6th, 2004, 11:08 AM
Slow and steady is what wins the race. If you try to get back too fast--you'll only have additional troubles the rest of your swimming life.

Follow the therapist's instructions. If you try to get back to what you were doing (pre-injury)--you're gonna find that it just won't heal and you'll never get back.

Each person is an individual. There is no set timetable as to when you're going to fully heal. Some NEVER fully heal. It depends on your age, your sex, your nutrition and what kind of shape you were in BEFORE injury. Some people's shoulders were not made to do workouts 3x a week for an hour. Also--some strokes aren't great for injury-prone shoulders. Were you doing butterfly for most of that workout?

Example--I was fine swimming laps for approximately an hour (with some rest periods) for about 4 weeks of summer swimming 5-6 x a week. By mid-July--I was in some pain. I continued swimming--by Labor Day--in the ER with severe pain. By March--on operating table (after doing PT from Sept-February).
I had been swimming all winter long for about an hour 2x a week. When I jumped to the 5-6x a week and added some distance (lcmeters for the summer vs scy for winter)--that's when I got into trouble.

Again--no specific timetable. However, the longer you take for the injury to fully heal--the better your chances of it NOT happening again. You should be doing the PT exercises on a regular basis for the rest of the time you hope to swim. It doesn't stop just because you're "healed".

June 6th, 2004, 03:41 PM
Thank you both for your replies. To answer your questions:
No PT has not looked at my stroke but my Coach has and made several recommendations. She also video taped me under water so that she could show ME what I was doing wrong. Seeing it on tape really helped. She said I was pushing forward with my hand as it entered the water after recovery rather than pushing from my hips. The core rotation was there but the push was not coming from there. Also, she said I was entering my fingers out too far and to try entering them near my eye. Finally she said I was over-reaching past the middle line after recovery and to think about entering at 10 and 2 to avoid impingement (sp?). That was all for freestyle. She also gave me breast modifications and I have given up back and fly for now because I'm not a big fan (or very good at) of doing either and the PT said they were the hardest on the shoulder. I swim mainly for fun and fitness, so I don't feel I have to master all 4 strokes.

I'm 33, female, just started doing laps last July for the first time in my life. I was in really good shape about the time the problems started (January). I had picked up my training to get ready for a meet in May which I didn't end up doing due to the shoulder problems. In March I had a professional fitness assessment and got "excellent" on UB strength, core strength, and "good" on cardio and flexibility. I enjoy weight lifting and I'm quite strong for someone of my size (5'0") but my tendons don't seem to keep up with my muscles, so as you said above slow and steady wins the race. I've got to get a more gradual mentality instead of trying to do "it all" too soon. I also cross-train quite a bit and enjoy mountain biking on trails, deep woods hiking, yoga, and elliptical. When I go back even to "full swing" swimming I'm planning to keep it to 2 days a week instead of 3. I seem to do OK if I give my shoulders plenty of rest time and I have enough activities that I enjoy to keep me busy. If I can only swim 40 minutes that's OK too, I'll do the last 20 kick only to round out the hour.

Also, I have been doing various kicking drills as you mentioned but I have to tell you 1 hour of kicking gets painful after a while so I just took this past week off from swimming (not from working out) entirely because I was having "kicking only burnout". :)

Thanks again for the advice and if you have additional tips now that I've elaborated, please let me know.

June 7th, 2004, 02:27 PM
Hi Venus,

While swimming and playing water polo in college I developed a pretty severe case of tendonitis in my right shoulder (throwing arm for polo, but I breath to my left primarily when swimming free). The college athletic trainer did not have me stop swimming - instead had me doing a somehwhat rigorous program of rehab work including heat, ice, weights and stretching - this combined with some stroke technique work has kept me swimming tendonitis free for 15 years.
The weights program was soup can weights (very lite weights about the weight of a soup can - 1 to 3 lbs, working the smaller muscle groups in the shoulder - can do most of the same exercises with a stretch cord). Modifying and improving my technique also helped alot. As posted above, the tendonitis is a symptom, if you want to get back in the water and continue swimming you are going to have to look at the cause and correct that (stroke technique, muscle imbalance or whatever) otherwise in a month or two of swimming you will probably be back to being told to stay out of the water again.

Good luck