View Full Version : Newbie with Pain!

June 14th, 2004, 05:34 AM
I'd hate this to be my first post! Moreover, i knew this has been discussed many times before.. but the threads are so many it's hard to find what I want!

I am an amateur 34yr old swimmer doing 3 times a week training program for the last three months..

Eventually as i increased pace and program, i started having swimmer's shoulder pain.. I do more freestyle swimming and try to variate pace/prgram every while.. I do about one hour and some 2.5km per session with many combinations.. (hope my calculations are right!)

My question is:

1) should i quit for a while till the shoulder pain goes away
2) should i continue lightly and do shoulder exercises
3) is it necessary to see a doctor/..

Other comments really appreciated!



June 14th, 2004, 09:31 AM
Click on Search at the top of the page, type in shoulder, click on Search titles only, and click on Perform Search, you'll find several threads devoted to this very topic.

In my experience and observation most shoulder problems are the result of technique. Most people can solve emerging shoulder issues (with freestyle) by rolling more and using a high-elbow bent-arm recovery where your hand stays close to the body and in front of the plane of your body (made easy by the roll).

Whether you need to stop swimming or see a doctor depends on how far your shoulder problems have progressed. Most shoulder pain is caused by movements which rub tissues in your joints which get inflamed which makes them more prone to being rubbed, and so on in a vicious circle. If the problems are minor and just beginning you can probably just adjust your stroke and see if the pain stops occuring. If you can't swim without pain you should stop until you recover enough that you can, and you should probably get some help. You may find that you can do some strokes but not others or that you can at least kick (beware kickboards) or something.

*My qualifications in offering the above suggestions are limited to having experience with shoulder problems myself, your milage may vary. See the previous threads for additional viewpoints.

Sabretooth Tiger
June 14th, 2004, 02:24 PM
Speaking from personal experience, a good sports massage may help. I was experiencing shoulder pain so I went for a sports massage. The masseuse found knots around my scapulas. She worked on releasing those points, and the pain that I felt in my shoulder joints went away.

Worth consideration.


June 21st, 2004, 01:59 PM
I started the calf exercises with a 5kg weight.. twice per day.. the muscles affected with pain really react to these exercises and heat up as i go on!

I have reduced the swimming to less powerful strokes but longer time.. It's working my shoulder and sockets are hurting less now..

I hope these exercises will take away the pain completely soon..


June 21st, 2004, 02:05 PM
I am not qualified to speak to what you should do medically about your shoulder. However, in all sports, a good way to injure yourself is through improper technique. This may or may not apply to you. You might consider doing more drills to imrpove your mechanics hoping it could also reduce your aches and pains.

I see people swimming every day that thrash about and if they'd just slow down and work on the stroke they'd be much happier.

June 26th, 2004, 02:43 PM
Some facts about my shoulders:

1) Pain is stable and controlled as I continue my regular swimming

2) Pain disappears and becomes non-exitant as I swim and only appears after an hour or so after swimming, till the next session every two days

3) I stopped training for four days and it has reduced trumendously but still there (no medication taken)

I am doing an MRI tomorrow to have a better understanding of what;s happening and make sure that there is no damage.. After which i shall be using more proper techniques as suggested above.. I'm sure that'll lead to more information also to anybody with the same experiences..

Will keep posting!

*feel like a testing probe!*

June 26th, 2004, 06:02 PM
Sounds a lot like typical "swimmer's shoulder"-- basically an impingement problem resulting in tendinitis (supraspinatus or biceps). The MRI is a great idea to rule out a small rotator cuff tear or a SLAP injury (less likely). My understanding is that muscle imbalance plays a big role, allowing the head of the humerus to move forward and trap the tendon(s). Think about the typical swimmer's posture--slouched, shoulders forward. Physical therapy exercises (using elastic bands) designed to strengthen the rotator cuff and stabilize the scapula (shoulder blade) can be very beneficial, along with ice after workouts and antiinflammatory agents (you have to treat the inflammation). I also believe in glucosamine if there are signs of osteoarthritis.

I agree with looking at technique and as stated earlier increasing the workout yardage very slowly. But I firmly believe that any muscle imbalance needs to be corrected to "cure" the problem (really the exercises are for life if you intend to keep swimming).

June 26th, 2004, 08:13 PM
I'm surprised no one's mentioned internal rotation being a possible culprit. Of course that falls under the category of technique. I know since I started concentrating on avoiding internal rotation, I haven't had any shoulder pain at all. It may or may not affect speed, but even so, it's worth it to save my shoulders.

June 27th, 2004, 06:54 AM
Originally posted by Susan
I'm surprised no one's mentioned internal rotation being a possible culprit.

Good point. Internal rotation of the shoulder aggravates impingement of the tendons by the head of the humerus.

June 27th, 2004, 04:35 PM
Originally posted by Susan
since I started concentrating on avoiding internal rotation

Any clue on how to avoid that?!



June 27th, 2004, 06:19 PM
Turn the palms of your hands in toward your body instead of out. That means last 2 or 3 fingers enter first on freestyle instead of the thumb. For backstroke, if you lift your arm with the palm turned in (right hand facing left,etc), you'll enter with your little finger first as a result of the body turn. You don't have to swivel your arm at all.

July 4th, 2004, 10:49 AM
MRI result:

No permanent damage, ligaments and tendons seem ok as per first report.

There are seemnigly serious inflamations in the muscles around that area.. Am about to see a rheumatologist for further follow up..

Pain is much less everyday.. dunno if i should resume swimming but i'd rather wait till the next appointment..


coach guy
July 5th, 2004, 06:00 PM
On avoiding internal rotation.
Leading with the last two fingers on the entry tends to make someone not roll and drop thier elbow. The lack of roll leads to "flat" swimming and during your recovery you will cause an impingement every time you recover (not a natural range of motion for the shoulder joint.) The dropped elbow causes a decrease in velocity. The decrease in velocity leads to riding low in the water which means you have to impinge the shoulder more in order to clear the water. Good technique is THE most important factor in shoulder pain. You've seen a specialist and that's the first step, now start some rotator cuff and shoulder stabalizing and strengthening exercices. Surgical tubing works great. Good Luck!

Qualifications Certified Personal Trainer, USA Swimming Certified Coach and I also got to get my practical experience with a 3rd degree dislocated shoulder (water polo injury.) I'm pain free and swimming 4000 Meters/day.

**always get professional medical advice from a specialist.**

July 6th, 2004, 05:22 PM
For sure you have to have good body roll no matter what sort of arm orientation you use. The thing about internal rotation is that when your hand enters the water, in effect, you eliminate the skull outward and start at the catch phase right after entry. Everything else is pretty much the same as when you enter thumb first.

July 7th, 2004, 03:55 AM
Been instructed by the doctor to go back and be more careful with my strokes, not to overdo it.. bla bla bla.. Seems it's inflamation only in the rear muscle tendons, gave me Mobic..

What's important now is that I'm back in the water!!!

Pic of me attached!


July 7th, 2004, 03:57 AM
How do u attach a pic here... let's see..