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KaizenSwimmer
October 5th, 2006, 06:33 AM
One of the themes I see repeatedly in many threads is the prevalence of shoulder problems - "imploding" cuffs, a need to wear fins in training, interruptions in training for surgery or rest, ibuprofen, etc.

It makes me wonder how many on this Forum have a history, what impressions people have about the causes of what seems to be an epidemic - similar to that of knee injuries among runner, and the methods people use to manage the problem.

So I'll start similarly to Peter Cruise on the ideal weight thread by posing several questions:
History of shoulder "issues"
Current status
Management strategy

History:
1) partial cuff repair (i.e. clean up the mess a bit, but no sewing/stapling) left shoulder 1996. Injury resulted from car accident - heavy impact on left shoulder when hit broadside.
2) major repair of right shoulder - stapled ruptured biceps tendon Feb 2005. Injury occurred while lifting weights.
I'm sure that while the proximate cause of both injuries was something other than swimming, the conditions leading to injury had everything to do with poor technique from age 15 to about 40.

Current status: I am aware that both shoulders are "compromised" but pain is rare. I can feel a material loss of strength and reduced range of motion in both, particularly at higher force levels. Had a bout of annoying but only moderately painful "clicking" in my left shoulder (which has an active partial tear) in May and June, which I learned was caused by my supraspinatus being pinched every stroke.

Management strategy: Never need ibuprofen, fins or breaks from swimming.
The following work well:
1) technique awareness - I avoid pressure on the shoulder until wrist and elbow are both flexed and forearm is in a semi-vertical position. This ensures shoulder is in its most stable position, when it first experiences pressure, which comes from a shorter lever.
2) I get massage and ART about twice a month to relieve subscapular tension. I've learned that my shoulders get tender if my subscap is tight. It gets tight even with good technique, simply because when you stroke correctly, it's the locus/connector for a lot of large-muscle loading.
3) When the "clicking" recurs I do therapeutic exercise to work on rhomboids, supraspinatus, infraspinatus, and subscapularis. This mainly involves shoulder blade protraction/retraction (opening and pulling together).
4) When I do get clicking or tenderness, I use "active recovery" swimming. Gentle activation of the area with pain avoidance - sometimes drills, sometimes whole-stroke, sometimes change of strokes, complemented by therapeutic exercise.

To get an idea what muscles you work with this kind of exercise try "forearm pushups" with forearms on floor and elbows directly under shoulders. As you push up, think of what you'd do to squeeze an extra inch of lift in a bench press. As you lower, keep head-spine alignment, body in plank position and slowly touch nose to floor without chest/hips sagging.

Other exercises of this sort can be done with balance ball, light dumbells, stretch cords and body weight. I should do it regularly -- as prehab -- but don't quite have the time right now. I keep telling myself I'll make time.

thewookiee
October 5th, 2006, 08:09 AM
"3) When the "clicking" recurs I do therapeutic exercise to work on rhomboids, supraspinatus, infraspinatus, and subscapularis. This mainly involves shoulder blade protraction/retraction (opening and pulling together)."


Terry,

When you have time, will you describe activities you use to work the above mentioned areas? I know that you have said that you prefer balance moves and pro-active stablization activities to plan stretching. Would the activies you do for the above mentioned be considered "pro-active" by you?

Thanks,
John

KaizenSwimmer
October 5th, 2006, 08:30 AM
Since rupturing my biceps tendon while doing bench presses in Oct 04 -- I was lifting moderate weight with impeccable form at the time it happened -- I've replaced weight training with exercise I can do at home, most of it involving a balance ball.
I've designed the program to focus heavily on scapular stabilization and shoulder stabilization. I also like that some activities that I used to do in the gym work very well on the balance ball, with a lot less weight needed.

Example. When doing "flys" in the gym, I'd lie on a bench and heft 30 lbs in each hand. When doing the same exercise on the balance ball, I support only my shoulder blades on the ball. The following aspects of the exercise change on the ball:
1) My core becomes "the bench" -- activating a lot of muscle that did far less when I'm on a bench
2) The ball is unstable, requiring me to use a lot more stabilizer muscle in my shoulders.
3) I keep one arm elevated while the other lowers to the side then lifts to the center. I need to use muscle on the other side to neutralize my body's tendency to go off center -- which happens as I swim.
4) I get the same sense of "work" being done with half the weight in each hand, which seems safer to me.

I'm not necessarily advocating this approach to weight training for all. Heavier loads in a stable environment may be fine for younger Masters. But with the marked increase of sports injury in middle age, those in their 50s and beyond might be well advised to consider more "unstable" exercise which reduces the loading on major muscle groups, and therefore reduces the chance they could overload the connectors.

Good source of guidance on this kind of activity is the article by Matt Wren in the current issue of USMS Swimmer. Matt is a swimmer and a very bright PT in Richmond VA. I coached him when he was in his teens.

thewookiee
October 5th, 2006, 08:37 AM
Thank You.

etrain
October 5th, 2006, 08:48 AM
I had problems with my shoulders in High School and College. I started swimming in High School and just thought it was part of the deal, then I sat a week out with a rotator cuff injury. Had sharp pain from for 7 days, the 8th day I woke up and the pain was gone, it was really weird. Used ice and heat pads for most of college, a bad back was usually the problem in college. Since then I haven't really had too much trouble, I think my body finally stopped growing. I still feel that it was mostly growing pains, my arms and legs grew like weeds but my middle didn't catch up until later in life... Now if I have problems I usually just take it easy for a day or two and get some rest and I am good to go.

etrain

osterber
October 5th, 2006, 11:20 AM
My history: Developed what was diagnosed as shoulder tendonitis in the spring of my freshman year of college. Both shoulders are impacted.

Management at the time: Ice and kicking.

Management now:

* I always ice after each workout. Even if nothing is hurting. Preventative, keeps the inflamation down.

* Shoulder exercises with stretch cords. I try to do them every night. If I start slacking off on the shoulder exercises, my shoulders start hurting in the pool.

* Trying to focus on technique where I can.

* Warming up appropriately. Usually every 3-4 months, there's a workout where I am sorely reminded of my need to warmup before working too hard. Sometimes, it's when I'm late for workout, jump in late, and competitive nature takes over since everyone else is already going hard in the main set.

* Knowing when to stop. There are days when I show up for workout, and things just aren't going right... technique is off, too tired, didn't get enough sleep, bad atitude, too many people, etc., etc., etc. Often it's those days that everything falls apart, and technique falls apart, and the shoulders start to go. It's important to see this happening, and either get out, or switch to kicking, or move to the back of the lane and coast, etc. Sometimes you need to let go of today, in order to be able to swim tomorrow.

-Rick

osterber
October 5th, 2006, 11:25 AM
Oh, and I guess I should point out that about a year ago, I dislocated my right shoulder while sleeping, which woke me up quick. I went to see a sports/shoulder surgeon doctor, who basically said that I was probably fine for awhile, but that at some point, I'd probably be back for a labrum repair down the road. So I try to keep my shoulders strong, to push that day off as far as I can.

-Rick

scyfreestyler
October 5th, 2006, 11:57 AM
I injured my shoulder shortly after I started swimming, November 2004. I was doing some ballistic arm stretches before jumping in and felt a pop and a deep soreness immediately afterward. I tried to swim but there was pain with the recovery and catch of every LH stroke. An MRI showed supraspinatus tendonitis, edema, and some other minor issues but nothing that mandated an invasive treatment. Went the physical therapy route and my MD said he could do a subacromial decompression if I felt the PT was not working. He seemed to think that an overzealous ramp up of yardage set the stage for the injury and I tend to agree. It took me about a year to be back to normal again although I do still get some clicking in that shoulder and if I am out of the water for too long it gets sore and tight. I recall having some email correspondence with Terry at the time because he was also recovering from an injury and had written in his newsletter about getting back in the water ASAP. I decided to follow suit and began swimming as much as I could sans pain. Sometimes it was 100 yards and others it was 1500, no rhyme or reason for the differences sometimes. Since then I have refined my technique to avoid injury and am also quite cautious about overexerting myself in the form of a substantial yardage increase. As of late, I have been less concerned with yardage than higher intensity swims in good form. I feel just as sore and whooped after these swims as I did when I tried to squeeze more boring sets of 100's into a workout.

Allen Stark
October 5th, 2006, 12:29 PM
I have intermitently had impingement problems since my early 20s. Resting the affected shoulder for a few weeks always helped. At 49 I dislocated my right shoulder.I was told that was a common problem for swimmers as we tend to have lax rotator cuff ligaments(flexible shoulders are prone to being lax.) I had PT for several months and do rotator cuff exercises religiously. Now I have intermittent pain at the insertion of the biceps tendon on both sides,especially the right. Resting the affected arm and ice helps,unfortunately when I have a major meet I will get single minded and think "I'll rest it after the meet".This is not something I recommend of course.

USMSarah
October 5th, 2006, 12:46 PM
Former college swimmer. Shoulder injury in 1998 and had arthroscopic surgery in '99 to shrink stretched ligaments and repair rotator cuff. It's been 7 years since surgery. Started back in 2004 with masters... shoulder doing much better than in college... but will still have pain at times, but I really can't complain too much. I stay away from resistance bands and therabands (I've been using them recently and noticed that my shoulder kills at practice... since stopping - my shoulder pain is tolerable)!!! I limit my freestyle work and concentrate on backstroke... when it's uncomfortable... I slow down and concentrate on GREAT technique. I use Zoomers for kicking sets, but I like to use them on fly (practiced rarely) so my shoulder doesn't hurt so much... but I really don't use them on regular sets unless kicking is a part of that set. I hardly kick when I swim - so that is my main reason for wearing fins... just moved up to the red ones and hopefully they will help.

nkfrench
October 5th, 2006, 02:43 PM
Started swimming age 15, swam 2 years in HS and 2 walkon in college before scholarship swimmers made it too fast. Took 16 years off since no USMS opportunities available at the time, although I swam for fitness on and off.

Dislocated shoulder in late 1987 falling backwards on an outstretched hand. Detached the glenoid labrum from the front of the socket which caused impingement and subluxation. Was swimming for fitness at the time. Could not swim a stroke without pain as the arm would slip out of the socket on each reach. PT wasn't enough.

Shoulder reconstruction early 1988 to move the biceps tendon head down to reinforce the front of the shoulder (modified Bristow). Extensive PT for 4 months after healing, about 12 hrs a week plus a few home exercises. At the beginning I could not open a door or drink from a 12-oz diet coke. A year post-op had the screw removed as the head was scraping bone and it was loose. Screw removal had immediate improvement which was nice because I sprained an ankle playing volleyball while I still had the shoulder stitches in, had to go on crutches.

Started swimming for fitness very soon after. Joined a USMS team in 1991 after destroying a knee and finishing PT for it. Did about 24,000y a week with no problems for about 5 years although my shoulders and upper arms were always very fatigued. Got involved in "dry" side of swimming and less in actually swimming so since 1996 my yardage is wayyy less. Had an episode of shoulder soreness on the non-reconstructed shoulder that healed in a yaer with very limited yardage, aspirin, etc. Using fins and more rotation in stroke is easier on my shoulders.

Bad Things: I have to support the rebuilt arm/shoulder when driving or sleeping; cannot carry a bag with shoulder straps on that side, cannot carry a 16-oz drink very long (muscles burn!). I avoid military press, flies, dips as they impinge.

Good Things: Regained strength and flexibility during my USMS early years to bench press 145# freeweights which was more than my bodyweight "then". Able to do the strokes with only a minor limit in external rotation in backstroke.

My worst nightmare would be having a doctor tell me to never swim again at any level (fitness, competition, recreation) especially due to shoulder issues.

Discussion: Does the position people sleep in affect shoulder health ? Such as sleeping on your side with the elbow overhead vs sleeping on back ? I bet it does but I've never seen any studies.

The Fortress
October 5th, 2006, 04:24 PM
Nancy: Sleeping definitely effects shoulders. My therapist told me not to sleep on my stomach with my head to one side -- that hurt my neck and trap. Sleeping on the side stresses the shoulder. The best thing is to sleep on your back, which is hard for me. One question: should we be bench pressing with shoulder issues? My doctor/therapist said no bench pressing or overhead weights. Appreciate any input.

gull
October 5th, 2006, 05:18 PM
One question: should we be bench pressing with shoulder issues?

From what I've read and been told, the answer is no. For one thing, bench press tends to accentuate the impingement of tendons by the head of the humerus, particularly if you lower the bar to your chest. Second, any preexisting muscle imbalance will be worsened by strengthening the pecs (which are already well developed in most cases anyway--certainly in comparison to the small muscles that comprise the rotator cuff).

David Varner
October 5th, 2006, 05:26 PM
Had impingement problem caused last year, solved this year via cortisone and fairly intense weights. I do a lot of the non-glamourous rotator cuff weights, light pounds-high reps. Am to a point where I am not afraid to do overhead (bench, military) presses, but I still do them only with dumbells since I believe they help strenghthen associated areas and are more challenging from a sudden-death point of view.

Like others, mega-yardage in youth but no recurring troubles.

Long catch-up, or front-quarter, stroke adjustment has me curious about whether fewer strokes puts more strain during the early phase of the stroke, and that's where the pain resided. I concetrate on rolling and spine-aligning all the time, just in case.

DV

gull
October 5th, 2006, 05:45 PM
History: Left shoulder pain beginning in the 90's when I was swimming 1500 yards 3x/week. Took several weeks off, but the pain returned as soon as I got back in the water. Became more of a problem when I joined Masters in 2003 and tried to train harder and more consistently. At my first meet I felt a lot of pain after my first dive, and for the next several weeks it was worse than ever. I thought I might have a tear, but the MRI was negative. I still think I had a small labrum tear that was missed (did not have an arthrogram). I saw an orthopedist and a physical therapist (who had worked with the Samoan Olympic team). Kept swimming, threw away the paddles, increased yardage slowly, and stayed in the water. After six months of therapy, antiinflammatory agents (Vioxx!), and ice, I began to see significant improvement.

Current status: Most days I have no problems. I swim 3500-4500 six days/week (aside to John Smith: yes I have a life, but I am not a sprinter nor do I have your talent).

Management strategy: I do my exercises faithfully (I even pack my Therabands when I travel)--it's the only way to keep the rotator cuff strong. I don't use paddles. I use Aleve and ice (at bedtime) on occasion. I pay more attention to technique. I take days off when I feel like I need to.

USMSarah
October 5th, 2006, 09:30 PM
Sarah:

Glad to hear your shoulder is doing better. I think a lot of backstroke and kicking helps too. I'm curious though. Why use fins when you kick? I try not to use fins when I kick because I use them for free and fly or for specific drills. Do you use a board?

Leslie

Hi Leslie.

No, I don't use a board. I hate how my body position feels (and my shoulders too) when I use them. I use fins (Zoomers only) on kick sets pretty much to just get the max effort out of the set (I feel like I work harder when I have those things on). The Red Zoomers are supposed to help you get a smaller, faster kick - and I barely kick when I swim, anyways - so why not use 'em on the kicking set. Hee!!!

Take care!
Sarah

KaizenSwimmer
October 5th, 2006, 10:13 PM
The Red Zoomers are supposed to help you get a smaller, faster kick - and I barely kick when I swim

Sarah
Zoomer kicking isn't likely to change how you kick when you swim.
Some questions: Are you sure you want to kick more when you swim? What event are you trying to improve?

If you want to have a more effective kick while swimming, the surest way to make that happen is by practicing whole-stroke...with an effective kick.

Isolated kicking is good mainly at training an isolated kick i.e. a good way to train for a race that happens to involve only kicking. I've heard of some of those, of course.

chaos
October 5th, 2006, 10:20 PM
history: a partial dislocation (jiu jitsu injury) left me with a torn labrum and a partial tear in my right bicep tendon. though it healed pretty well and did not result in a loss of range of motion, i had a persistant clicking and my shoulder would frequently stick during my freestyle stroke cycle.

i had surgery (a couple of staples in the labrum, and some laser clean up and a stitch to anchor the bicep tendon) summer of 2000.

i have experienced little discomfort since. i have traded martial arts for yoga, and swim 5 to 7 days a week with total yardage ranging from 20 - 40k.

i try to be extremely mindful of the load i am placing on my shoulders, particularly when trying to learn a new skill or make technique adjustments;
a couple of examples:

while working on some breaststroke, i was trying to thrust my hands forward into a streemlined position with great velocity. this is probably the one motion in all of the competitive strokes where i am most vulnerable to injury, and as such, i am careful to control my extension and keep my shoulder in socket.

i have been trying to work on a more efficient high elbow catch. again i need to proceed with a focus on keeping my shoulder joint intact, and not let the increase of leverage lead to another dislocation.

TheGoodSmith
October 6th, 2006, 11:29 AM
This year is the first year I have ever experienced shoulder problems in my life. Last March my right shoulder started to hurt during Backstroke and Fly. This summer I laid off and didn't swim an ounce of fly or back going into worlds. I was actually ready to get out of the pool during my races if need be. I lost my dignity 3 kids ago, do I made a mental plan to exit the side of fr 50 fly since I was in lane 10. Fortunately, there was no "snap". But the pain lingers, and now I am experiencing numbness and tingling in my fingers during workout when I swim fly or back.

I am certain this is the result of some sort of subversive plan by the Evil Paul Smith to slow my 50 free for next year. His shoulder specialist he is recommending to me is probably on his payroll.

Then again my whole body is falling apart.... cholesterol 240, stress fratctured left hip that aches when it rains, asthma, etc.... It's good for making excuses and whining.

John Smith

The Fortress
October 6th, 2006, 11:48 AM
John:

Welcome to the world of shoulder problems and the tingling sensation. (Get it taken care of!) And as my friend Wally Dicks (breaststroker extraordinaire) says, "Would you like a little cheese with that whine?"

Leslie

scyfreestyler
October 6th, 2006, 11:50 AM
This year is the first year I have ever experienced shoulder problems in my life. Last March my right shoulder started to hurt during Backstroke and Fly. This summer I laid off and didn't swim an ounce of fly or back going into worlds. I was actually ready to get out of the pool during my races if need be. I lost my dignity 3 kids ago, do I made a mental plan to exit the side of fr 50 fly since I was in lane 10. Fortunately, there was no "snap". But the pain lingers, and now I am experiencing numbness and tingling in my fingers during workout when I swim fly or back.

I am certain this is the result of some sort of subversive plan by the Evil Paul Smith to slow my 50 free for next year. His shoulder specialist he is recommending to me is probably on his payroll.

Then again my whole body is falling apart.... cholesterol 240, stress fratctured left hip that aches when it rains, asthma, etc.... It's good for making excuses and whining.

John Smith


Not to make light of your condition, but you could be on one of those commericals for cholesterol control drugs. A guy who is incredibly fit but still needs help with his cholesterol. Get that number down while you are waiting for the advertising agency to call!!

scyfreestyler
October 6th, 2006, 11:55 AM
John:

Welcome to the world of shoulder problems and the tingling sensation.


I had to see a medical neurologist about 6 months ago for some other issues but I asked him about the numb/tingling feeling that I would get in my hands. He said it could be caused by any number of things which may or may not be related to the shoulder injury, although he agreed that it was probably connected somehow. In closing he said that as long as the numbness went away quickly and was not a permanent and lingering thing that it was probably not cause for concern. I used to get numb hands and fingers when I was sleeping after my injury and it has slowly tapered off over the last several months. If I moved them around for a fewe seconds the feeling would come back, thank God.

USMSarah
October 6th, 2006, 12:05 PM
Sarah
Zoomer kicking isn't likely to change how you kick when you swim.
Some questions: Are you sure you want to kick more when you swim? What event are you trying to improve?

If you want to have a more effective kick while swimming, the surest way to make that happen is by practicing whole-stroke...with an effective kick.

Isolated kicking is good mainly at training an isolated kick i.e. a good way to train for a race that happens to involve only kicking. I've heard of some of those, of course.


100 back. My back kick is really, really weak. My fly kick became awesome after using blue zoomers... and now since my ankles are more flexible... I'm using the red ones. I have actually noticed the last week on backstroke that I'm using my kick more - it's really great... but yes, I agree with you - I do need to try harder on kicking more while I swim. I've just relied so much on my arms for the past 15 years - it's hard to break that habit. Hee! Thanks for your input!

:wave:

waterhugger
October 6th, 2006, 12:10 PM
My shoulder problem appeared after my middle age (~45yo) spring return to the wonderful world of california outdoor swimming, when my frequency of swimming went up to about 3-4 times a week. By the end of summer I had improved my freestyle and times significantly, and had an overpowering feeling of being swimming "semi-god". That is when I decided to "dominate" also in backstroke and work vigorously on my fly. Shortly thereafter during my regular workouts I could here cranking noise coming from my left shoulder quickly followed by, at times, excruciating pain. The pain persisted for months despite the fact that my swimming sessions went down to once per week or less. After about year and a half of pain and frustration, I finally I decided to counteract this. I started self applied physiotherapy: weights training, that was supposed to improve my muscles around the shoulder joint, while keeping safe distance from the movement that were painful. I also changed drastically my swimming, canceled fly and backstroke, and moved onto breaststroke with occasional light freestyle that I adjusted to be extra easy on my shoulders. Slowly over few months my pain in left shoulder went away. I can not express how elated I was.
Now I can do some easy fly, which is so good for my cardiovascular, freestyle and lots of breaststroke, I still avoid backstroke, which I think was the most detrimental to my shoulder.
I credit this board for having so much good info and tips how to deal with this kind of problems.
I credit myself for being so stupid to overdo my crude workouts with too much intensity and not enough good technique and common sense that created this problem in the first place. :)

steeldrum8
October 6th, 2006, 12:44 PM
Had surgery last year to shorten ligaments in rt shoulder (can say swimming was not the cause because I hadn't done a lap in 10 yrs.) Have already started delevoping same thing again ( I guess I just a loose shoulder) have done PT and all excersises to help (don't work) any suggestions or am I doomed to repeat this surgery every couple years? (Doesn't bother too much when I swim but will not give swimming up). THanks.

Zirconium
October 6th, 2006, 12:50 PM
I don't have any particular shoulder problem worth of mentioning. Probably because my yardage is low (starting recreational swimming since 2.5 years, 1500 m x 2 or 3 times / week) and also do some weight training.

I would like to know how a particular stroke affects the shoulders. If you have to order the 4 strokes, from least shoulder-friendly to most, what would be your choice?

And more interestingly, can you offer your opinion on the reason why stroke X is bad for the shoulders?

scyfreestyler
October 6th, 2006, 01:02 PM
I would think that back and fly would be the worst for your shoulders. Free and breast being the most shoulder friendly with breast getting the nod. Although when I was recovering, the breast recovery made my shoulders click and pop all the time so I avoided it. Nowadays when my shoulders get tired from some hard freestyle sets I move to breast and it seems to lighten the load.

Fly would seem the worst to me due to it's ballistic style recovery and back would seem to create the greatest opportunity for impingement from a physiological standpoint.

swimmieAvsFan
October 6th, 2006, 02:37 PM
I would think that back and fly would be the worst for your shoulders. Free and breast being the most shoulder friendly with breast getting the nod. Although when I was recovering, the breast recovery made my shoulders click and pop all the time so I avoided it. Nowadays when my shoulders get tired from some hard freestyle sets I move to breast and it seems to lighten the load.

Fly would seem the worst to me due to it's ballistic style recovery and back would seem to create the greatest opportunity for impingement from a physiological standpoint.

i've had totally different experiences with my shoulders...
~fly is definitely the worst in my book. that much i'll agree with!
~if my shoulders aren't bugging me at the beginning of a workout and we do a lot of longer freestyle stuff (ie our set of 8x300 free we had on wednesday), they are almost guaranteed to be bothering me by the end of the workout. but flipping over and doing back always makes them feel better.
~and when they're bothering me, breast definite aggrevates them more, mainly during the acceleration in the recovery. breast has also been known to bother them in and of itself, but not that often. probably cause i don't do it all that often!
~backstroke- i can't remember a time where it bothered my shoulders... (does that mean i have finally become a backstroker, and not a freestyler who is decent at backstroke? ;) )

i'm not sure what the deal is with my shoulders- i guess it's probably overuse more than anything else, but i'm sure my technique could use some tweeking. i try and be nice to them, as in when they start hurting, taking it easy, but swimming in the lane that i do (with all guys, and in either the fastest or next to fastest lane), my ego has been known to get in the way... :rolleyes:

so, to me, the order of worst to best would be: fly, free, breast, back...

scyfreestyler
October 6th, 2006, 02:47 PM
Hmm? I might have to start working on back a little bit and see what happens. My workouts consist of free and breast along with some kicking, but free comprises the majority of the yardage. When I injured my shoulders I stopped doing what little back I had done because the clicking and pain were just too much.

Zirconium
October 6th, 2006, 03:31 PM
Could the hand orientation be an important factor as the cause of shoulder impingement?

The internal rotation of the upper arm places the shoulder join in a precarious position which exacerbates the impingement. Internal rotation is when your upper arm rotates inward (toward the body) and consequently your palm is facing outward. For more details, see Neer's test mentioned in:

Swimmer's shoulder II by Larry Weinsenthal
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3871/is_200007/ai_n8921740

In Free & Fly, I try to minimize the internal rotation by never facing my palm outside. In backstroke, I cannot avoid this, as I roll the shoulder to do the catch, the palm faces outward a short moment until the insweep, even with a thumb first recovery. And it is true that I "hear" more often my left shoulder on backstroke than on free. So I would say backstroke is the least shoulder friendly in my case.

May be Fly would be bad for me too but I don't swim it often enough. My least frequent stroke is actually breast. Here, it's the kick & knees that tire me way before the shoulders complaint anything.

swimmieAvsFan
October 6th, 2006, 04:17 PM
Could the hand orientation be an important factor as the cause of shoulder impingement?

The internal rotation of the upper arm places the shoulder join in a precarious position which exacerbates the impingement. Internal rotation is when your upper arm rotates inward (toward the body) and consequently your palm is facing outward. For more details, see Neer's test mentioned in:

Swimmer's shoulder II by Larry Weinsenthal
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3871/is_200007/ai_n8921740

In Free & Fly, I try to minimize the internal rotation by never facing my palm outside. In backstroke, I cannot avoid this, as I roll the shoulder to do the catch, the palm faces outward a short moment until the insweep, even with a thumb first recovery. And it is true that I "hear" more often my left shoulder on backstroke than on free. So I would say backstroke is the least shoulder friendly in my case.

May be Fly would be bad for me too but I don't swim it often enough. My least frequent stroke is actually breast. Here, it's the kick & knees that tire me way before the shoulders complaint anything.

this could explain why backstroke doesn't bother me, maybe...
i have very very funky elbows (i guess they're double jointed- but they do something most other people's don't :) ) but whatever is up with my elbows, i don't actually have to turn my hand to get a good catch, the palm is just in the correct position by the time my arm enters the water. so no/less internal rotation, no/less shoulder ouchies in backstroke. at least for me...

Paul Smith
October 6th, 2006, 05:22 PM
Leslie.....glad to see you've figured out John so quickly, we actually refer to him as "Glum"....you know the cartoon character that starts each day out with an "oh poor me":

John's poor me's:
"Oh poor me, its sunny today"
"Oh poor me, I'm healthy and married to an ex-Olympian and have 3 great kids"
"Oh poor me, the stock markets up today"
"Oh poor me, my technique the last few years has gone to hell and now my shoulder hurts"
"Oh poor me, I have little girl sz 8 feet and no kick so I can't be Paul in a 50"
"Oh poor me, Texas beat USC in the Rose Bowl"

Get the pictue!

And by the way.....tell Mr. Wally to get his butt back in the pool. John, Clay & I need him for a relay in a USS meet next spring!

TheGoodSmith
October 6th, 2006, 05:36 PM
Who is this Leslie woman! ?

Does she know Clay Britt?


Remember, Paul is the Evil one.



John Smith

TheGoodSmith
October 7th, 2006, 08:04 AM
Theoretical and Unbeatable Medley Relay: 35-49 age group
Clay Back, Wally Breast, Evil Paul Smith Fly and Me Free.

Leslie, due note that there are those on this forum who would object to combining friends from different teams across the country in order to assemble a fast relay and drink beer together. I on the other hand am a relay "whore" available to the highest bidder.


John Smith

Paul Smith
October 7th, 2006, 10:06 AM
John......we may actually get a pass from Mel (and the other disgruntled super team objectors) since this proposed relay along with our free relay (with Saeger and Rowdy) is shooting for the USS meet in Austin where we can go up against youngsters......including your beloved Longhorns!

I can see the look on some of them now: :rofl:

Frank Thompson
October 7th, 2006, 10:34 AM
You get a pass from me as long as everyone is on an even playing field. I totally support these efforts in a USS meet. The only reason this came up in the last two years is because everyone in the World could not do this as easily as the USA did in the FINA World Masters Championships. Right now it looks like no one is taking any effort with FINA to change the Club attachment status from representing a Club to representing a National Delegation entry. As long as FINA has two different rules for Swimming and for Masters there will always be controversey. If you go back and read the posts I never said that it was unethical as long as everyone is on a level playing field. At a USS meet this seems like you would have to do this just to make the time cuts at the National level.

I would encourage this and I can think of my own unbeatable relay for the 35+ age group. Michael Ross, Rich Schroeder, Chuck Ponthier, and Todd Pace. I added up there times from the Top Ten and they would do without relay starts a 1:32.31.

Sorry to highjack the thread, actually it was highjacked already but I wanted to explain myself because I was one of the objectors along with Mel and many others on the other threads dealing with this issue.

gull
October 7th, 2006, 08:13 PM
Messrs. Thompson and Smith, if you do not have a shoulder problem to share with the rest of us, we will have to ask you to leave this thread.

tulclark
October 7th, 2006, 08:59 PM
I injured my left shoulder several years ago using a cybex weight machine. I knew immediately I had torn something. The fly and backstroke bothered my shoulder much more than free or breast stroke.
I started doing rotator cuff exercises with the stretch cords about three days a week. I also took a hard look at my swimming mechanics. There's a good article about swimming mechanics and shoulder pain at:

http://coachesinfo.com/category/swimming/118/

I also had about three prolotherapy injections into my left shoulder which I think helped.

Today I'm pain free, but I'm very careful about which strokes I swim. No fly.
:cool:

tulclark
October 8th, 2006, 07:48 AM
Paul:

So, you are the first I've hear to try prolotherapy. I was heading to that if ART didn't work for me, which it seems to. My husband (a runner who runs way too much) did prolotherapy for his hamstrong and had good results. Let me know if it holds. Did you do ART first or in conjunction with it?

Leslie

I'm sure you aren't talking about anything to do with painting.......so I must confess I don't know what ART is. I didn't do any other kind of therapy other than just rotator cuff exercises with the stretch cords.
It's been about a year since I had the prolotherapy and so far so good!
Paul

LindsayNB
October 8th, 2006, 10:30 AM
I have had problems with shoulder pain and impingment. I don't do any backcrawl whatsoever as it inevitably causes me shoulder problems. Strangely, double arm backstroke doesn't seem to cause problems. Butterfly doesn't cause me problems at all unless I try to rotate my hands to a palm upward position during recovery. Recovering with the top of my wrist leading causes no problems. The thing that gets me the most is in freestyle when I don't rotate enough and my recovery occurs behind the plane of my body. Various drills that make it harder to rotate give me problems (e.g. head-up frontcrawl, catch up).

Frank Thompson
October 8th, 2006, 01:45 PM
Messrs. Thompson and Smith, if you do not have a shoulder problem to share with the rest of us, we will have to ask you to leave this thread.

Gull:

You are absolutely right. We should not be highjacking this fine thread with our own personal feelings about friends on different teams recruiting for fast relays to break records, drinking beer together, disgruntled super team objectors, and swimming in USA swimming meets. I am guilty along with the Smith's and Leslie for highjacking the thread.

To everyone you wants to pick up this discussion I will direct you to these threads that have discussed these issues for the past two years. And Gull, the next time I come hear I promise to contibute about shoulder problems relating to swimming.

http://forums.usms.org/showthread.php?t=6422&page=9

http://forums.usms.org/showthread.php?t=5089&page=11

geochuck
October 8th, 2006, 03:13 PM
The only shoulder problem I have is that everyone wants to cry on mine.

bud
October 10th, 2006, 12:22 PM
My shoulder problems are mainly due to a severe arthritic condition. Iíve never had any surgery or prescribed PT, etc. If my shoulder joints ever go the way of my hands Iíll have to give up swimming for sure (many of the joints in my fingers are completely fused together).

Iím sure that regular use (mostly swimming) has helped keep my shoulders going. Iím extremely paranoid about injury and damage so I never over stress my shoulders. I can crank up the speed for an occasional sprint, but mostly I plod along at a comfortable pace. Pushing the envelope, but not trying to shred it, is what keeps me injury free IMHO. (Moderation is the key.)

I basically had to relearn to swim in í95. I could not lift my arms out of the water due to limited shoulder movement. Nor could I lift my elbows above my shoulders. Extending my arms straight over my head was an absolute impossibility either on land or in water. I started out doing breast only, 45min to do 300yds, one length at a time. I wish Iíd made a note of my stroke count then, but it must have been about 30 for 25yds (iirc it is now about 8... I glide a lot). I was a mess.

Front crawl gives me the most fits. Iíve tried to adopt the technique Iíve been seeing so much about where the wrist drops quickly in the beginning of the pull, keeping the elbow near the surface, but it is unbelievably awkward and makes me panic as I feel that position is going to blow out my shoulder. It could be just in my head, but for now Iím happy to continue with my (so far) tried and true method. In my ďrelearnĒ phase it took 1.5yrs for me to consistently do 25yds of free.

Backstroke is the most fun and feels like it the best thing for my shoulders, but I do need to be very mindful while doing it. In my relearn phase it took about 6mos. before I could do back.

Butterfly was not even on the radar screen for 6 years, but now it is 2x more than any other single stroke in my practice (I typically do some of all four competitive strokes at every practice). I was terrified of what the recovery would do to my shoulders (quick, jerky movements are the kiss of death to any of my joints). For a year I did a self invented drill (say 50 to 100yds per practice) of mock fly where I would drag my arms through the water for the recovery (i used a whip kick), thus strengthening my shoulders and getting them used to that motion. Iíve been doing fly several years now and have developed a nice smooth (frequently rather leisurely) rhythm where I seldom feel any real stress on my shoulders. In fact I find it rather comfortable and invigorating.

So my current status is that all seems well, all things considered.

My management strategy is simply to not over do it, pay attention to my body, and ease off the throttle at the first sign of a problem. I do a fair amount of standing Yoga asanas too, most of which work my back and shoulders, and my legs (especially calves and hamstrings).

It has been at least 5yrs since I had to slow down my swim practice due to injury. That was when I wrenched my left (always most vulnerable) shoulder in a flip turn. I had to take it really easy for a few weeks, and easy for a few months, but it healed and I never stopped swimming.

geochuck
October 10th, 2006, 12:32 PM
Bud old Dr Jarvis in his book Vermont Folklore Medicine has a hint about Arthritis, Pure apple cider vinger, honey and a little water, I used his cure on race horses that had Arthritic condions and got them back to the racetrack.

swimmerlisa
October 16th, 2006, 09:52 AM
I started swimming competitively when I was 8, and I didn't have problems with my shoulder until I was 15. After dealing with "clicking", popping and sharp, stabing pain in both of my shoulders, I went to see a physical therapist. I was given some exercises to do, and told to take three doses of Aleve or IBprofen a day. I was restricted to kick sets during practice, without a board, because my shoulders always hurt when I held them up on the board. A few weeks later, I was swimming again. A few weeks after that, I was back at the physical therapist, who recommended I go see an orthopedic surgeon. The surgeon said I had chronic rotator cuff tendonitis in both shoulders, and he could help me by giving me shots of cortizon. (spelling?) My parents and I were both against that, so my coach made me take the next 5 months off swimming, so at practice while everyone was swimming, I ran stadiums, did shoulder exercises, and kicked. I used ice every night. When I got back in the water to swim (and still to this day), I no longer do distance free (I kick or do backstroke with fins). This actually did wonders for my number one stroke, backstroke - because I ended up doing so much of that during each practice. If there was a 1500 backstroke, I'd surely kick ass at it. I'm 24 now, and my shoulders still bother me from time to time, now I just have to watch out for overworking it.

geochuck
October 16th, 2006, 10:57 AM
I had Cortizon injections in 1964 same problem only the Doctor told me the tendons were frayed and would be cut though if I continued to swim. I told him I had a race the next week end. He told me not to swim but if I do don't pull. I raced the 32 miles came third then it was off to Egypt to swim in 2 - 44k races. In Egypt the Dr there injected me with novicane to freeze it during the races. I am sure it was not a cure but have never had shoulder pain since but I did modify the crawl stroke so there was no pain.

Swim Smooth
October 17th, 2006, 01:42 AM
1) technique awareness - I avoid pressure on the shoulder until wrist and elbow are both flexed and forearm is in a semi-vertical position. This ensures shoulder is in its most stable position, when it first experiences pressure, which comes from a shorter lever.

Hi totalswimm,

I aggree, the "shorter lever" as you describe sees the recruitment of the more powerful and stable muscle groups of the pectorals and lats to come into play, thus reducing pressure on the shoulder itself. Painful shoulders though can be attributed to numerous stroke flaws in addition to those you suggest:

1. Thumb first entry (causing internal rotation of the shoulder joint during recovery*. This has been shown through much research [Johnson, Gauvin and Fredericson 2003. New Stroke Techniques and Medical Considerations. The Physician and Sportsmedicine - Vol 31 - No. 1 January 2003 is an excellent paper on this] to be the main cause of shoulder impingement in adult swimmers and yet it is still taught by many swim programs as a way for the hand to enter more smoothly into the water - avoid it at all costs!)
2. Hand entry across midline (again causing internal rotation). Try this drill at http://www.tritalk.co.uk/forums/viewtopic.php?p=239770&highlight=#239770 for helping to avoid this.
3. Exagerated upward head position ( you may like to read more about head positions at http://www.tritalk.co.uk/forums/viewtopic.php?p=165208&highlight=#165208)
4. Unilateral breathing if leading to an assymetrical stroke (which it typically does in all but the most elite swimmers or those whom have made a concious decision to address this issue by improving body roll to their non-breathing side)
5. Poor body roll in general resulting in a flattened 'prone' stroke and one which requires the shoulders to be internally rotated in order for the arms to recover over the water.

*Internal rotation is the action that you feel if you stand up, raise both arms out in front of you, palms level and facing down to the ground, and then slowly turn your hands inwards so that your thumbs now face the ground and palms face outwards. Notice the decrease in cavity space in the rotator cuff muscles of the shoulder indicated by a pinching or 'impingement' sensation. When done repetitively with a thumb-first entry and limited body roll, this is one of the most prevalent causes of shoulder pain in swimmers.

The whole of this thread (an excerpt of my article on the www.tritalk.co.uk forum) can be found at http://www.tritalk.co.uk/forums/viewtopic.php?p=239758&highlight=#239758 if you are seeking further information.

In terms of some background discussion on shoulder impingement itself, please see the thread at http://www.tritalk.co.uk/forums/viewtopic.php?p=351273&highlight=#351273 which discusses a full explanation of what is shoulder pain, what is the likely cause, the types of shoulder pain commonly "bracketed" under the "umbrella" of "shoulder pain" (e.g. impingement, rotator cuff tear, instability etc), common signs and symptoms, suggestions for prevention and treatment and rehabilitation techniques.

I think that shoulder pain is maybe seen to be more prevalent in swimmers and triathletes these days (the "epidemic" you describe) due to the increase in popularity of later-life uptake in these sports. Key aspects of the stroke which have been shown to cause shoulder pain and impingement (e.g. thumb-first entry into the water and midline cross-over), are often "escapable" in younger children and adolescents with both good developed flexibility and also (presumeably and hopefully) good teaching and appreciation of good stroke mechanics, e.g. body rotation. Adult learn-2-swim swimmers and triathletes will undoubtedly have reduced flexibility in the shoulders and upper thoracic region of the back, and may also not have access to the same standard of teaching and coaching on a regular basis as younger children.

With enhanced education, more courses / lessons and better coaching for this group of people, I think we will see a lower prevalence in shoulder pain. I certainly don't see any reason why this "epidemic" should be a phenomenon - the literature and avoidance strategies are readily available, its just a case of communicating this to the masses - which is probably easier said than done.

Hope your shoulder is now better. Please try some of the suggested stroke technique work and see if this helps at all in addition to your current prevention strategy.

Regards

Paul

Swim Smooth
October 17th, 2006, 10:51 AM
Paul:

I'm not sure enhanced education will work in every case. I came back to swimming late in life after swimming in my youth. I breathe bilaterally, do not cross over, try to keep my head down and am very flexible. (45 -- still doing handsprings with my kids). Yet I still have all of the shoulder problems discussed in your link -- impingement, laxity, etc. I try to do all my home care exercises and go to ART periodically. I think my shoulders are just shot from overdistancing training in my youth an can't take too much pounding. I'm sure there are still stroke adjustments I can make -- and I will keep trying, but the fact is I just can't do a lot distance free or fly and 5000 workouts or mega-wekly yardage are a thing of the past.

Leslie

Hi Leslie

Sounds like you are very much in the know about what you should be doing and please don't think I meant that education is the only method for seeing this situation being resolved. Obviously, once shown in theory what needs to be happening with the stroke, the swimmer needs to be "walked through" this individually with the coach or physio. Undoubtedly there will be some who's shoulders may be "shot" from many years of swimming etc, but if you are able to work closely with a coach to identify if you are doing exactly as you think you are doing (i.e. through the use of video analysis for example), this may help address those "other stroke adjustments" which you may not have tried yet, possibly.

My key areas if I was working with you (given what you say you think you are doing correctly) would be to address the level of rotation apparent in the stroke, what the recovering arm is doing over the surface of the water and in particular whether the arm / shoulder is internally rotated upon entry (i.e. thumb first).

By all means Leslie, if you have a short video clip of your stroke, feel free to email it over to me at paul@swimsmooth.com and I'll try to advise on your specific situation if I can. I'm not saying that I hold all the answers, but often a slightly different approach may just work for you if you've had no success in the past. Nothing to lose in trying anyhow.

Thanks for your thoughts,

Paul

The Fortress
October 17th, 2006, 11:35 AM
Paul:

That is very sweet of you. I don't have a video at the moment. George has advised me to use a video camera. Hopefully, I will get around to it.

You have put your finger on the other adjustments I need to make. I don't put my thumb in first. But a teammate has advised me that I do overrotate and push my hand past my hips, causing my elbow to go over my spine. I'm working on fixing that one at the moment.

In the final analysis, however, I have concluded that my shoulders will probably always be sore if I overdo it. For example, I had a lovely month of great training and no shoulder pain recently, then I was overzealous and did 900 yards of fly in one practice (I think I am doing fly correctly after a year of drill and adjustments) and 400/200 IMs with the fast boys in my lane later that week. Now, even though I did these with fins to reduce shoulder strain, I'm kinda sore again and took a week off from fly. Which is so sad ... I love fly ....

Thanks. Leslie

aquaFeisty
October 17th, 2006, 12:14 PM
I injured my shoulder in summer 1999, had a moron doctor who had me take massive motrin and put me in a sling for a month, then prescribed exercises that made the shoulder worse. After 3 months of begging, I got referred to an ortho guy, got prescribed pt and things started to improve. Unfortunately, reinjured the shoulder climbing towers at work in the spring. This time I went straight back to the orthopaedic guy (had switched insurance, I will NEVER be in an HMO again), back into pt, cortisone shots. I got back in the water Nov 2000.

Now I am very careful about stopping when I hurt, watching for the dropped elbow, icing the shoulders immediately after hard practices, not sleeping on my side, etc etc. I'm also cautious with how much backstroke and butterfly I swim. For me, backstroke causes impingement much worse than butterfly does.

The Fortress
October 17th, 2006, 12:22 PM
Aquafeisty:

I find it interesting that some sore shoulder sufferers can do back (e.g., me, Mollie, SwimmerLisa) and some can't (e.g., you, Lindsay, evil Smith). Wonder why?

etrain
October 17th, 2006, 12:28 PM
It probably has to do with where on the shoulder you are hurting. And also your stroke mechanics for backstroke. I would almost bet that the ones with the shoulder problems in front can't do back and the ones with shoulder problems on the side can do back. That is my guess, but I might be backwards. I always had shoulder problems in front, so all strokes hurt. But I could see that if the pain was on the outside of the shoulder you would be able to move around in most strokes without too much pain.

Just my $0.02!

etrain

swimmieAvsFan
October 17th, 2006, 12:36 PM
this could explain why backstroke doesn't bother me, maybe...
i have very very funky elbows (i guess they're double jointed- but they do something most other people's don't :) ) but whatever is up with my elbows, i don't actually have to turn my hand to get a good catch, the palm is just in the correct position by the time my arm enters the water. so no/less internal rotation, no/less shoulder ouchies in backstroke. at least for me...


Aquafeisty:

I find it interesting that some sore shoulder sufferers can do back (e.g., me, Mollie, SwimmerLisa) and some can't (e.g., you, Lindsay, evil Smith). Wonder why?

i still maintain it's because i have weird elbows which substantially minimizes the internal rotation when i swim backstroke (see quote 1 above). it's hard to explain exactly what my elbows do, but i'll try...

1) stretch out your arms in front of you
2) turn your hands so that your palms are facing the floor
3) bring your wrists together
4) try and make your elbows touch, without changing the position of the rest of your arm

can anyone else do that? i think because of this weird genetic freakish-ness of my elbows, my shoulders like backstroke the best. but that's just my opinion. :laugh2:

aquaFeisty
October 17th, 2006, 12:39 PM
Hmmm... maybe Eric is onto something with the location of the pain re: the ability to do backstroke? The original injury involved pain throughout the shoulder, but now when it flares up, the pain is in the front. Could be body geometry too... my acromion (I might be totally screwing up the anatomy here) tilts down so I'm predisposed for impingement when raising the arm overhead.

On the other hand, it could be that my backstroke mechanics just flat out suck. :D My backstroke is very very bad. I'm swum 400 IM's where the breast leg is faster than the back... and that's saying a lot seeing as how breast is AFTER back. :D

swimmerlisa
October 17th, 2006, 01:40 PM
That's interesting you are having pain from backstroke. I have never known any swimmer with that problem. I'd say it definitely has to do with your stroke mechanics - how much/little you are rotating, or maybe your reach underwater is incorrect. You could try using paddles when swimming backstroke - the smallest kind which works for you, so as not to injure it more - but that will force you to do your stroke correctly. Also - always remember - backstrokers rotate their bodies when they swim...your hips and shoulders rotate with every stroke. Proper technique should solve your problem, and make you faster. :-)

The Fortress
October 17th, 2006, 02:09 PM
Eric:

I think you might be right that it's location of the pain. My shoulder pain in on the back and sometimes the side, mostly the infraspinatus. So I have a lot of trouble with the overhead free motion.

Mollie:

I can't do that weird thing with my elbows. But I can still do backstroke without shoulder pain.

Peter Cruise
October 17th, 2006, 02:59 PM
Leslie- you came back to swimming 'late in life' at 45? Balderdash! You'll be kicking rear ends and still racing your secret enemy when you're 90+!

swimmieAvsFan
October 17th, 2006, 04:15 PM
Mollie:

I can't do that weird thing with my elbows. But I can still do backstroke without shoulder pain.

leslie, you might be able to do it better than most people (there are some people who can *almost* get their elbows to touch, which is farther than most people). if you're doing the sprint classic in 2 weekends, i'll have to show you what mine can do :D

swimmieAvsFan
October 18th, 2006, 08:21 AM
leslie,

i think it'll be okay- i know quite a few people who waited till the last possible second to enter (myself being one of them!) and the psych sheet was last updated before the entry deadline...
:)

and back onto a more thread related topic- swimmerlisa, i know you're a pain-free backstroker, can you do the weird elbow thing i described??? and those that have shoulder ouchies in backstroke, can any of you do the elbow thing??? i'm curious to see how out of whack my theory is :laugh2:

aquaFeisty
October 18th, 2006, 08:31 AM
Mollie,

I can't get my elbows to budge. I put my hands out in front of me, palms down, wrists together, and that's it. The elbows don't bend in at all. There's maybe 6-8" between them. So maybe you're on to something!! :)

swimmerlisa
October 18th, 2006, 09:39 AM
and back onto a more thread related topic- swimmerlisa, i know you're a pain-free backstroker, can you do the weird elbow thing i described??? and those that have shoulder ouchies in backstroke, can any of you do the elbow thing??? i'm curious to see how out of whack my theory is :laugh2:

I tried desperately to be able to do the weird elbow thing, but besides someone in my office asking me what I was doing, nothing happened. I can't get them to touch. I tried though. :)

sanwin
October 21st, 2006, 09:19 AM
Terry I too have had surg. on each shoulders,the last was for a bicep tenden also,that was in feb-06. I read your book thought it was great,but I feel I flip around alot when turning from side to side. It has been a difficult rehab this time,I was not allowed to freestyle til aug. I have had impigement in my other shoulder, that is great now. Do you have any of your TM workshops in the Cleveland,Ohio or Erie Pa area. I know if I get shoulder pain my form gets sloopy. Thanks Sandy Hossman e mail is HCeramicgirl@aol.com

SolarEnergy
October 21st, 2006, 05:33 PM
Management strategy: Never need ibuprofen, fins or breaks from swimming.
The following work well:
1) technique awareness - I avoid pressure on the shoulder until wrist and elbow are both flexed and forearm is in a semi-vertical position. This ensures shoulder is in its most stable position, when it first experiences pressure, which comes from a shorter lever.
2) I get massage and ART about twice a month to relieve subscapular tension. I've learned that my shoulders get tender if my subscap is tight. It gets tight even with good technique, simply because when you stroke correctly, it's the locus/connector for a lot of large-muscle loading.
3) When the "clicking" recurs I do therapeutic exercise to work on rhomboids, supraspinatus, infraspinatus, and subscapularis. This mainly involves shoulder blade protraction/retraction (opening and pulling together).
4) When I do get clicking or tenderness, I use "active recovery" swimming. Gentle activation of the area with pain avoidance - sometimes drills, sometimes whole-stroke, sometimes change of strokes, complemented by therapeutic exercise.
I know I'm a bit late on this thread, but I couldn't help replying as I relate to this approach totally.

This is exactly what I've been doing, no more no less with nothing different with clientele all ages. Terry. I got such amazing results working like this, that I even got invited by a general director of a rehabilitation center, specialized into rheumatoid arthritis, severly injured and disabled people, as a specialized instructor. This lady (the director) was a master swimmer of mine, a very slow one that seemed to be rather fragile. I didn't know she was working in this field and I wasn't looking for a second job but I gave it a try.

But back to traditional swimming, I agree with every single word you wrote, I would never think about doing otherwise.

With injured swimmers, I think rehab. Every single sets is aimed at avoiding this injury in the future. Just to give you an example (sorry I will sound like loving myself). A young red head blue eyes 11yo gets in my group (11-12). Her mother tells me that it's her final attempt. Too many shoulder injuries.

Now beware Terry. You may not like this one! I taught Alex(*) "straight arm recovery" free style. Arm extended is just simple to understand for an hyperactive kid. They don't have to think. I had her do so much volume of rehab free style arm extended, that I accidentally turned her into a long distance swimmer. I found out she was indeed a fantastic swimmer but couldn't stay quiet at the wall for more than 10seconds without throwing an elbow at someone's face. She's now around 25 and perform marathon races to earn money to pay for her studies.

* edit **
I tried google her name. She was 10th in the world in 2005 it seems.
http://www.fina.org/openwater/pdf/mswc05_rankings_W.pdf

The Fortress
October 21st, 2006, 09:57 PM
Solar Energy:

That was a very inspiring story about your 11 year old!

I agree that all Terry's advice is the soundest you'll get.

I just want to add that I'm still not sure it will work for everyone. I think it works especially well older swimmers or fitness swimmers or people not currently competting. It works for competitive swimmers too, but not always. Here's the thing. Not everyone has the time or money to do ART and massage regularly. I wish I did, because I think it really helps, but it's tough to spend that much time on the table. Also, I personally have found that I can do all the above things and not be completely "cured." I guess if I wasn't trying to compete, the program would work better for me because I wouldn't worry as much about getting in high quality practices. So I probably do more than I should. But frankly, I think that there's just too much junk in the trunk for a total cure. I think I'll always be managing it with some recurrent pain on occasion. Or maybe it's cuz I'm not doing that nice slow fly that you've perfected. Maybe I have to ditch that race pace fly....

SolarEnergy
October 22nd, 2006, 07:58 AM
I just want to add that I'm still not sure it will work for everyone. Unfortunatelly, I agree.


Or maybe it's cuz I'm not doing that nice slow fly that you've perfected. Maybe I have to ditch that race pace fly.... I donno maybe. Getting to reconcile your pains with swimming can sometimes take years if not decades.

And again, I've seen cases where for instance the injury always manages to find its way back after having cured it.

But the principle remains though. You really have to make sure that every little technical aspect has be looked at carefully. And when you feel that the pain goes over the *acceptable* level, then you should switch into a rehab training plan. That means that if you swim with a squad, you have to modify every session to give it this rehab flavor. And if possible, don't do any pain killer. That slows down the recovery process considerably.

The Fortress
October 22nd, 2006, 11:35 PM
Solar Energy:

I think your advice is sound and the principles articulated I think are absolutely correct. I try to abide by them as much as I can; sometimes life interferes. I probably need to do more rehab mode swimming, although I am always quick to switch to backstroke if free bothers me.

I don't like pain killers either -- they upset my stomach -- so I try not to resort to them. I know a couple people who have tried prolotherapy, a non-surgical option, with good results. So if I ever get to that "unaccepable" level, I may do that. Fortunately, so far, I have a fairly high pain tolerance.

I know some people who have had their shoulders adjust after swimming awhile and doing weights (mostly men). It may be that after my 24 year layoff from college (and a torn rotator cuff), it just may take awhile for my shoulders to adjust. But I know others who can never quite shake it and the tendonitis comes and goes. Because of work/travelling etc. I just took almost a week off from swimming (which freaks me out because I have a meet next weekend), but my shoulder does feel better. Now I did sleep oddly on my poor neck. I'm 7 years older than you -- middle age sucks!!

geochuck
October 23rd, 2006, 12:09 AM
That is not nice. I have been calling myself middle aged. Now some are going to call me elderly.

The Fortress
October 23rd, 2006, 09:10 AM
George: Elderly is only when you can't swim anymore. If you're going a 36 in the 50 m fly, you are NOT elderly.

islandsox
October 31st, 2006, 03:37 PM
I DID. Hi everyone, I am new to this forum but not new to swimming. I just posted something under Open Water swim forum if anyone wants to read about it or has something to say about it.

I am now 58 but have been swimming since childhood. Got hooked on competitive swimming. I was an average swimmer until I flipped over on my back, and voila, I found my stroke!!! I competed for 45 years doing only the backstroke events. In 1995, my rotator cuff snapped and I remember the exact moment (OUCH!!). Surgery fixed it and within 8 weeks, I re-entered the pool doing only kick sets and anaerobic sets. One year later, the same shoulder broke down with impingement (OUCH again), and one more surgery. Impingement surgery was the worst and most painful and most downtime. Rotator surgery was a breeze compared to this last one.

But thanks to a wonderful surgeon, a Dr. Duc Nguyen out of Redwood City California, he created a little extra space so I could rotate further inward if I wanted to. However, my backstroke career went down the drain and I discovered the 800m free (a new love).

Now I live in Roatan Honduras in the Caribbean and only do ocean swims. I want to say something here about bilateral breathing. DO IT. I was always a right side breather and when I train each year for our triathlon (one mile swim), my left shoulder screams at me because I breathe on the right and this places great torque on my left surgery-repaired shoulder.

There is one other thing I want to mention and this is my opinion only. I never, ever stretch before swimming. I know of many people who have gotten hurt doing this. What I do is I get in the water and swim the most ez 100 I can swim and off the walls I do underwater breastroke a few yards. I THEN start stretching and do it in the water. For me, I have to warm up my body, ligaments and muscles first, then stretch them out.

Donna

chickadee
November 3rd, 2006, 11:07 AM
Just injured my shoulder last weekend, MD thinks the original injury was last summer, that occured when I was praticing starts. I am in shock, was told last night by MD no swimming for awhile as he thinks I have badly strained or torn my rotator cuff, I need to schedule a MRI with contrast and then PT. I was so psyched for the short season in our area, I feel it slipping away. May need an antidepressant other than dark chocolate and merlot real soon. I read all the other threads and picked up some info. I guess I am just really sad right now, tried to schedule the MRI and it two weeks out from today. Then wait a few days get the results then few days for appt, then it is Thanksgiving....argghhhh.
Not to mention it hurts like crazy and I can barely turn my head, and lets forget sleeping. Cant figure out how I am to sleep, I feel like I am ready to be laid out for a coffin fit when I sleep on my back.
MD said I could exercise if it didnt involved upper body which all I can figgure out is walking and stationary bike, maybe some weigt lifting for lower leg.
Anybody have any thoughts to get through this depressing time. :dunno:
I had just started to swim competitively this past year and I am in love with it, so I feel rather broken hearted. Trying to stay upbeat that this is only a blip on a long range plan of swimming but it is a big bummer....okay I am also angry about this as well. :mad:

swimmerlisa
November 3rd, 2006, 11:19 AM
Chickadee! I'm so sorry :-( As you can see, many of us have shoulder injuries and we are still swimming, so don't get so down. Swimmer's shoulder is a common injury for us, unfortunately.

I'd suggest keeping up with your leg strength and cardio - stadiums, running, lunges, squats, weight training. You will find you can still do some arm machines at the gym without pain. For me, I can't do the overhead weights as much, but the rowing machine and triceps, biceps, dips - I can do those okay.

You can stay in the water! There is plenty of kicking work you could do, with fins and without. This is a great time to work on your underwater fly kick, both on your back and front. You will be able to swim soon, doctors give you that doomsday approach to scare you into not swimming. You could do a little with fins after a few weeks, just don't push yourself. Make sure to ice and take a anti inflammatory as directed.

hope that helps, chin up!

The Fortress
November 3rd, 2006, 11:49 AM
Chickadee:

You have every right to be angry and disappointed and frustrated. And I know your pain. I just started swimming again a little over a year and ago and, within 2-3 months, had rotator cuff and bicep tendonitis and couldn't sleep well. My neck hurt too. But I did not have a tear. If you have a tear, then you may be out of luck on the swimming (not kicking) front for awhile. If not, you may be able to battle through it. I did. I never "rested" like the PT told me too. PT didn't help me. And you want to keep the injured muscle moving or it freezes up. I ended up getting a cortisone shot. Then the tendonitis came back and I tried ART and massage. That worked better for me. But I still am forced to use fins a lot. I hope your short course season isn't ruined. You just have to wait for the MRI. As for the sleep thing, I recommend you resort to drugs as a temporary fix. Anti-inflammatories may help the pain, but they also slow the healing process and can hurt your stomach. Good luck. Please report back. I'm rooting for you because I know you're one of those nice soccer parents!!

SolarEnergy
November 3rd, 2006, 12:04 PM
Anybody have any thoughts to get through this depressing time. :dunno:

Find a heck of good swim coach. Not talking about the average master swimmer coach here, but the high level ones.

Ideally, you should go and meet Terry Laughlin, even if it means driving your car over few states and stay at the hotel (given you have enough money for such a journey). I mention about Terry as I don't know the other available gurus in the US.

A good coach will be more important than a good gp to solve the issue that you have at the moment.

Massive improvement can result from very soft technique orianted training. By technique I mean developing the attributes that will make you behave in the water more like a fish.

The Fortress
November 3rd, 2006, 12:18 PM
very soft technique oriented training.

Chickadee:

This really helped me too. I was the drill queen for awhile. I still love drills when I'm sore or my shoulder is acting up. If you can't drive to Terry because of your little soccer players, go to his website. He may respond to this thread too. He is very generous about giving advice to help people.

born2fly
November 3rd, 2006, 01:25 PM
I've had shoulder problems off and on. Usually I just swim thru it because I hate taking time off. I do not know if it was from the swimming or the weights. I like to think my technique is pretty good although I am a straight arm swimmer but have good placement of hand entry.

For the shoulder pains, my PT told me to take aspirin and do some ice. I would fire her for lack of injury evaluation, but it is my wife :shakeshead:

islandsox
November 3rd, 2006, 01:52 PM
I had replied earlier on to this topic. But as I read more replies, I have to jump in again.

I have been a backstroker my entire life until the 90s. While swimming freestyle, my left shoulder rotator cuff was torn (OUCH). Surgery and PT took care of it. I swam backstroke at the nationals that next year with no problem. A year later, while swimming freestyle in practice, OUCH again. This time it was impingement and again another surgery, pt, etc, and lots of downtime on this one.

Now, I don't know if it was 40 years of large rotational backstroking, but my left shoulder just kept breaking down. I swam backstroke competitvely a couple of times after that, but switched to freestyle. It wasn't that there was pain, it just never "felt" like it had for years. The smoothness of the stroke had evaporated. So, I went to distance freestyle.

Actually, I have more left shoulder pain when swimming freestyle because I am stupid and don't bi-lateral breathe to reduce torque on it.

I will tell you that I now live where there is no doctor nor PT of any kind. But, I use swim cordz and I still do the exercises that strengthen everything around the injuries. I'll try to explain:

Standing and cords attached to door knob. Stand parallel to the door, not in front of it. With elbow and arm at waist level, pull the cord to your body with your elbow stationary at your waist.

Oh, and I can almost (but not) touch my elbows together (1 inch).:dunno:

Donna

chickadee
November 3rd, 2006, 01:53 PM
Thanks so much guys, I really appreciate the feedback, :applaud: I have watched over the past couple months how people on the site support to each other.My friends are supportive but non swimmer's and noncompetitive so their well meaning "well, maybe this is your bodys way of telling you too slow down" is more frustrating than anything...ARRGH! I agree with getting a better coach, I was doing alot of the preventative strengthening and stretching exercises so this hit pretty hard and probably speak to poor techingue. I will keep you posted and I truly appreciate the feedback about checking out Terry's website.

SolarEnergy
November 3rd, 2006, 02:46 PM
He is very generous about giving advice to help people. I was on this impression too.

He may be able to refer to someone in a near area too. I think he issues some franchises here and there.

Mswimming
November 3rd, 2006, 03:28 PM
I think I need to add myself to the shoulder injury support group. I usually have some soreness from swimming but general attribute that to muscle soreness. But this week has been different. The pain now is on the front part of the acromion at the top of the shoulder. I hope it is just tendonitis and not a tear. But it is uncomfortable right now, hard to sleep, tingling in my fingers...

My plan right now is to rest and ice it this weekend. And I'll probably take next week off from swimming. Then start doing some rotator cuff exercises and see if that helps. If it doesn't, then its off to the doc I guess.

I'm kind of bummed about this. I felt like I had made a lot of progess over the summer with weight loss and improving times. And so far the fall has been all about set backs.

Kevin

geochuck
November 3rd, 2006, 03:37 PM
If it hurts change what you are doing, sometimes you cannot reach as far forward, sometimes you have to pull closer to the body. If you pull too deep problems, sometimes you have to change your finish. No one can help you but yourself. Experiment....

KaizenSwimmer
November 4th, 2006, 02:49 PM
There are several levels of acuteness with shoulder injury
1) moderate and passing tenderness
2) more persistent tenderness, only while swimming, but passes after warmup.
3) hurts to some degree most of the time while swimming, but not otherwise.
4) routine pain, most of the time, sometimes acute
5) pain/weakness that is disabling to normal life function, interrupts sleep.

At #1, you can respond by swimming more gently, perhaps by examining your technique.
At #2, consider swimming at a very low pressure/speed level and definitely examine technique.
At #3 be very careful to do only movements in the water that don't cause pain and do them gently. Think of it as aquatic PT. See professional help.
At #4, stop swimming and consult a PT or orthopod as quickly as you can. It's quite possible that conservative treatment may bring you around.
At #5, it's certain that aggressive treatment, and a high probability of surgery will be needed.

How many are experiencing shoulder pain at levels 3, 4 or 5 right now?

geochuck
November 4th, 2006, 03:06 PM
Of course #1 should be consult with a doctor.

The Fortress
November 5th, 2006, 04:42 PM
KaizenSwimmer:

Isn't there another categtory where it doesn't hurt when you're swimming particularly, but you're sore or swollen later?

SolarEnergy
November 5th, 2006, 10:08 PM
KaizenSwimmer:

Isn't there another categtory where it doesn't hurt when you're swimming particularly, but you're sore or swollen later?Could it be arthritis?

I'm not sure if inflammation does that. I'm on the impression that feedback is more immediate.

The Fortress
November 5th, 2006, 10:15 PM
No Solar. No arthritis. It's my infraspinatus muscle that swells up when I do a lot of fly or free. Sometimes it's noticeable (that's what my ART guys says when I go in ). Maybe I stated my question too simplisticly. My left shoulder and left trap are always kind of sore. Just sometimes more sore after I swim than during. Once I get warmed up, I tend not to focus on it. It's not terrifically bothersome compared to tendonitis. Now, I'm going to go put some ice on it since I'm not feeling "driven" to type anymore...

poolraat
November 5th, 2006, 10:15 PM
I had an impingement 2 summers ago. It took most of a year to recover and regain the strength I had prior to the injury. Now, I don't have any pain when I swim but there are times after a long or hard workout when it will ache for a while after I finish my workout. Is this common?

SolarEnergy
November 6th, 2006, 11:24 AM
No Solar. No arthritis. It's my infraspinatus muscle that swells up when I do a lot of fly or free.
Oh sorry.

Could it be as simple as a recovery injury? Notice in the attachment the area designated by the letter "b". That's a perfect spot for squeeze-then-inflamme. Not sure you should swim the butterfly or at least you should breathe every one stroke, initiating the ondulation/breathing by a movement of the head.

I wish I could see come clips of both freestyle and butterfly

geochuck
November 6th, 2006, 12:00 PM
It is so easy to upload videos so people can see your stroke. You can upload to google videos , You tube or many other services, some are free and some you pay. When I get people to send them to me I want three angles, one swimming directly to end head on shot, one from the side at 90 degrees in the third lane. One at a 45 degree angle front and side. All from above water if possible underwater vids also. Each clip should be 10 to 15 sec long. If you upload to google or you tube everyone here could criticque.

This is a video that is of a swimmer asking advice on his stroke on another forum so just upload to have others view it and post the address http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kx0-I7mwZ0E

The Fortress
November 6th, 2006, 02:35 PM
Solar:

B looks like where some pain is and sometimes on the opposite side in the trap area. My video camera is broken at the moment. I will have to try to rectify that problem. NO FLY?! That would be so sad... I usually breathe every other stroke initiating with the head and usually wear fins. I really think that technically it's OK.

oldswimmer
November 8th, 2006, 05:46 PM
Add me to the group with shoulder problems. I have been a Masters swimmer for almost 30 years (now 61) and was relatively free of shoulder pain. That changed this spring when I started to notice severe pain. If I look back I probably had some pain earlier and loss of strength but I just ignored it.

Probably not a good thing as I severed a biceps tendon. Classic popeye look these days. Now I am pain free and it hasn't appeared to hurt my swimming much if any. I seem to have a little problem with backstroke if I don't drop my elbow on entry ( I get a small twinge). I guess I also worry about severing the other tendon as I understand surgery isn't normally successful on a person my age as the tendon is usually badly frayed.

I have been doing some shoulder strengthening exercicise and I stretch after a slow warm-up these days. If someone can point me to some good excersises and/or stretches I would be grateful. My doctor hasn't been too helpful. He says I have good range of motion in both shoulders, but didn't offer any tips on how to avoid further injury.

Wish I had paid more attention to my shoulders earler.

geochuck
November 8th, 2006, 06:35 PM
The exercises the Egytian doctor gave me were very simple and were done on an overhead pulley machine. The main one standing straight and starting above head pulling down the center of the body almost touching the body all the way to the lower hip region, always letting the hand to preceed the elbow. The weight started at 3lbs per pulley I did get it up to 7lbs 3600 times an hour.

oldswimmer
November 8th, 2006, 06:38 PM
Thanks George I'll add some of those to my workout.

The Fortress
November 8th, 2006, 10:45 PM
Do the Buchberger 12. Get the book. Lots of light handweights with high reps. Rotate the ball on the wall. I think the exercises have been described here and in a lot of other threads (e.g., "shoulder injuries"). Do a search. Ask a PT or ART guy. They may also have a copy of the book Buchberger 12. Get better. Good luck. Wish I had strengthened my shoulders before I started swimming too. You can still do it!

swimr4life
November 8th, 2006, 11:46 PM
When am I going to learn!:dedhorse:
I haven't been doing my shoulder exercise religiously like I should and guess what?.....I'm hurting! About once or twice a year it flares up when I get lazy and stop doing my old PT exercises. I'll go back to my exercises...the pain goes away. My pt told me I would have to do those darn exercises for the rest of my life after my surgery and darn if he wasn't right! :shakeshead: My main pain is in my neck, trap, infraspinatus and front of my shoulder. UGGGHHH!

The moral of the story boys and girls....DO YOUR SHOULDER EXERCISES!!!!

The Fortress
November 9th, 2006, 09:11 AM
My main pain is in my neck, trap, infraspinatus and front of my shoulder. UGGGHHH! The moral of the story boys and girls....DO YOUR SHOULDER EXERCISES!!!!

Me too, except not in the front. Beth, we're about same age, same pain. Are you doing that butterfly thing? I am going to get off the computer right now and do my shoulder exercises and then practice my profession. P.S. I found a "suitable" guy too. My older children also help babysit. But it is a neverending butterstruggle to get that training in.

swimr4life
November 9th, 2006, 10:02 AM
Fortress,
YES! It started bothering me after I did a lot of fly in practice. We did 20 x 25's sprint 1-4 fly with #5 free 4 times through. We were using fins so I thought I would be ok....WRONG. It just kills me because fly used to be my second best stroke! Now all I dare to train for and race is the 50 fly. I haven't done a 100 fly in a race in years!

oldswimmer
November 9th, 2006, 12:49 PM
Do the Buchberger 12. Get the book. Lots of light handweights with high reps. Rotate the ball on the wall. I think the exercises have been described here and in a lot of other threads (e.g., "shoulder injuries"). Do a search. Ask a PT or ART guy. They may also have a copy of the book Buchberger 12. Get better. Good luck. Wish I had strengthened my shoulders before I started swimming too. You can still do it!

Thanks Sprinter, I'll take that advice. I've never had the occassion to reasearch shoulder rehab before, but I know see there is quite a lot of info available.

I swim with a PT and we had a short chat before workout last night that helped me better understand my injury. On the plus side it looks like I can swim everything except backstoke without pain and with "normal" technique. I have modified the catch phase of backstoke to reduce the stress on shoulder and will likely have to keep that modification. I made it though a tough workout last night without pain. I have a bit of a mental thing I will have to get though before really pushing the injured arm again, but so far so good.

swimmieAvsFan
November 9th, 2006, 03:53 PM
so last night at practice i decided to play around with my freestyle. mainly because i think it was an earlier tweaking of my stroke that jacked my shoulder up this fall. i was hoping that doing something (anything!) differently would help out. well, after reading another thread (the one about freestyle arms, i think) and the mention of Doc Counsilman and his advocating freestyle with a thumb first entry, i decided to try it out. and, it just so happens, that's the way i swam free as a kid (my second college coach thought my stroke needed to be "fixed" and had me start entering with the middle 3 fingers first). after practice last night, my shoulders felt better than they have in nearly 2 months. but i knew the real test would be when i woke up this morning. and guess what? they still feel pretty darn good. and to top it all off, my freestyle was faster and felt stronger than it has in a loooooooooong time.
now i'm confused... is the thumb first entry a good thing or an old school fad that has gone by the wayside???
:dunno:

SolarEnergy
November 9th, 2006, 09:08 PM
Fortress

We mentionned earlier about unweighting the catch, the best example I could show would be this 15yo national level kid. 1:53 over 200.

Play this one here. When he starts using his arm, see how progressive he is on catching, really starting pulling the water when the arm is in a safe position.

That allows him to progressively feel the grip, thus getting a solid one when it counts.

In fact, he only starts pulling hard during the *upward* body motion. By then, his hand is already deep enough instead of being far in front, while shoulder being in a weak, or squeezed position. He simply let his hand sink at the appropriate depth to catch in calm and solid water.

I didn't even explicitely ask the subject to swim like that. That's just his all natural kinetic response to the challenge of maintaining forward propulsion during one-arm drill.

If you have hard time guessing how much pressure gets applied when, just look at the hand acceleration. When the hands travel slowly (on the downward body rotation), there's no pressure applied.
http://www.dropshots.com/day.php?userid=71362&cdate=20060419&ctime=114453

The Fortress
November 9th, 2006, 10:21 PM
my freestyle was faster and felt stronger than it has in a loooooooooong time.
No pain.:applaud: What a relief that must be. I look forward to seeing you kick some freestyle butt in December. I, however, will not be doing any freestyle events. So you can kick your you-know-who rival's butt instead.

The Fortress
November 9th, 2006, 10:36 PM
Solar:

J'ai aime votre exercice main-levee beaucoup. I like rolling my shoulders and flutter kicking. It made me feel like a dolphin. I cannot for the life of me remember what the word for dolphin is in french though. That guy definitely has an unweighted catch. I had kind of a crappy practice tonight though, not enough sleep this week I think, so now I will go :drink:. Except I will be drinking wine. Why don't we have an icon for wine?

KaizenSwimmer
November 10th, 2006, 10:41 AM
We mentionned earlier about unweighting the catch, the best example I could show would be this 15yo national level kid. 1:53 over 200.
http://www.dropshots.com/day.php?userid=71362&cdate=20060419&ctime=114453

I'm guessing that's 200 LCM not scy.

Great drill example and your description of its value and benefit is right on. IMO, if you're gonna do any single arm free, this is the way.

If this is a kid you coach I'll make a suggestion for reinforcing all the benefits you cite. Suggest to him to:
1) visualize slipping his hand into a mail slot as it enters the water, and
2) make the entry without a sound.
Then continue with those focal points on whole stroke after drilling. Ask him how that changes what he feels happening.

I'd be curious what he says.

poolraat
November 10th, 2006, 11:04 AM
if you're gonna do any single arm free, this is the way.

I started doing the 1 arm this way about a year ago. I'm finally getting a level of comfort with it where:
1) I'm not kicking madly to stay afloat, my kick feels as natural as when
I'm using both arms.
2) I actually feel like I do when swimming using both arms and can
bilateral breathe no matter which arm I'm using.
3) It's fun passing other lap swimmers and seeing their reaction when
they realize I'm using only one arm.
This drill has made a big difference in my swimming since I started using it.

KaizenSwimmer
November 10th, 2006, 11:17 AM
Here are a couple more suggestions for maximizing what you get from that drill.
1) Think of moving your elbow in a circle, like the crank of a bicycle. That'll get you out of the water more smoothly and back in more cleanly.
2) When breathing to the opposite side (i.e. left if you're stroking with the right) see your hand before rolling to breathe then see it again before stroking, after the breath.
Enjoy.

poolraat
November 10th, 2006, 11:41 AM
When breathing to the opposite side (i.e. left if you're stroking with the right) see your hand before rolling to breathe then see it again before stroking, after the breath.
Enjoy.

I always see the entry both when drilling and swimming (trying for the no bubbles entry) but do you mean keeping the hand extended until after I breathe and begin rolling to the other side?

KaizenSwimmer
November 10th, 2006, 12:07 PM
Yeah. It's a bit tricky and non-instinctive. You need to be careful - after the breath - to return the head to a nose-down position a moment before you drive down the high hip/shoulder.
Doing so allows you to establish your catch a bit firmly, then when you drive down the high hip, you also drive your body effortlessly past that catch.
It may feel at first as if there's a hitch in your stroke, but with practice you can do this smoothly.

Mswimming
November 10th, 2006, 12:13 PM
I'm guessing that's 200 LCM not scy.

Great drill example and your description of its value and benefit is right on. IMO, if you're gonna do any single arm free, this is the way.

If this is a kid you coach I'll make a suggestion for reinforcing all the benefits you cite. Suggest to him to:
1) visualize slipping his hand into a mail slot as it enters the water, and
2) make the entry without a sound.
Then continue with those focal points on whole stroke after drilling. Ask him how that changes what he feels happening.

I'd be curious what he says.

I've always found the mail slot thing odd. Seems to me that would cause you to be more tense with your hand and forearm above the water. I've always thought that you shoud be as relaxed as possible at that point.

As for my shoulder, I've determined that its backstroke that is causing my problems. I swam most of the week with out doing any backstroke and things were fine. But last night we did some IM work and after a 25 back I could really feel it.

I think what is happening is that I am overcompensating for my left side. I broke and dislocated my left elbow a few years ago. Now that elbow is arthritic and has range of motion issues effecting, among other things, wrist rotation and strength. Not sure how or if I can correct that.

Once I figured that out, it occurred to me that I probably injured it last week when I was asked to do a 50 back off the wall for time in practice. That was the day my troubles started.

Unfortunately I'm getting numbness and tingling in my right hand 24/7 and that has me a bit concerned. So hopefully I can get in to see my doc next week to figure out what I've done.

Kevin

KaizenSwimmer
November 10th, 2006, 12:20 PM
I've always found the mail slot thing odd. Seems to me that would cause you to be more tense with your hand and forearm above the water. I've always thought that you shoud be as relaxed as possible at that point.

Good point. You're right that keeping a relaxed hand wouldn't necessarily be instinctive with that focal point. (I do expect it would be more instinctive with the "silent entry" focal point.)
So thanks for reminding me to add the important detail. Prior to introducing the Mail Slot focal point we would have introduced a "Marionette Arm" focal point. During recovery, visualize your hand/forearm as suspended from your elbow like a marionette. After the swimmer had formed a bit of habit there, we'd intro the Mail Slot.

SolarEnergy
November 10th, 2006, 06:25 PM
I'm guessing that's 200 LCM not scy. Yes it is LCM. In fact, I don't remember the exact time, but it was only few 100s of a second (2 or 3 100s) from canadian senior national standards.


If this is a kid you coach I'll make a suggestion for reinforcing all the benefits you cite. Suggest to him to:
1) visualize slipping his hand into a mail slot as it enters the water, and
2) make the entry without a sound.
Then continue with those focal points on whole stroke after drilling. Ask him how that changes what he feels happening.
I'd be curious what he says. Thanks for the input. Unfortunately, I'm not his coach. He's supervised by my former boss's assistant.


This drill has made a big difference in my swimming since I started using it. Really, when properly coached or supervised, this drill can change a swimmer's life, or at least approach to swimming.

And a 12 months learning curve for really mastering the drill is normal in my opinion.

SolarEnergy
November 10th, 2006, 07:19 PM
Here are a couple more suggestions for maximizing what you get from that drill.
1) Think of moving your elbow in a circle, like the crank of a bicycle. That'll get you out of the water more smoothly and back in more cleanly.
2) When breathing to the opposite side (i.e. left if you're stroking with the right) see your hand before rolling to breathe then see it again before stroking, after the breath.
Enjoy. thanks.

I like to ask them to make to feel that their inactive shoulder travels forward outside the water as well. Say it exits the water at a given point (as a result of body rotation of course), it has to re-enter further.

swimr4life
November 12th, 2006, 01:08 PM
Help! I need support from my fellow shoulder pain sufferers! I worked at a booth selling my nutrition products yesterday so i had to lift and carry a lot of big, heavy boxes. My neck, trap, and the back of my shoulder are hurting big time! When I woke up, my hand was numb! I'm so frustrated because I was finally getting my endurance back. I've already had shoulder surgery, pt etc in the past. I've never had my hand go to sleep though. That is a new one. Anybody else have this? If so, what was the problem? :confused:

Donna
November 12th, 2006, 03:11 PM
Beth, Treat yourself to a good massage. That will help the muscles realax, if you can find someone who is familiar with trigger points that is even better.

When I used to live in the Atlanta area Health Place at Wellstar Hospital Kennesaw has some good massage therapists.

Hope you get to feeling better fast and see you again in December.

Donna

poolraat
November 12th, 2006, 09:15 PM
And a 12 months learning curve for really mastering the drill is normal in my opinion.

Interesting. Especially since it took me a little over a year to become comfortable with it. But I wouldn't say I've mastered it yet.

swimr4life
November 13th, 2006, 03:32 PM
Beth, Treat yourself to a good massage. That will help the muscles realax, if you can find someone who is familiar with trigger points that is even better.

When I used to live in the Atlanta area Health Place at Wellstar Hospital Kennesaw has some good massage therapists.

Hope you get to feeling better fast and see you again in December.

Donna


Good idea. I might have to try that. Thanks for the encouragement! I hope to swim at St. Nick's in December!

SolarEnergy
November 13th, 2006, 03:42 PM
But I wouldn't say I've mastered it yet. What leads you to say that?

Do you have a difficulty in a specific area?

Have you seen yourself performing this drill?

Did you receive any feedback from a good coach?

The Fortress
November 13th, 2006, 04:19 PM
Help! I need support from my fellow shoulder pain sufferers! I worked at a booth selling my nutrition products yesterday so i had to lift and carry a lot of big, heavy boxes. My neck, trap, and the back of my shoulder are hurting big time! When I woke up, my hand was numb! I'm so frustrated because I was finally getting my endurance back. I've already had shoulder surgery, pt etc in the past. I've never had my hand go to sleep though. That is a new one. Anybody else have this? If so, what was the problem? :confused:

Beth:

I know this pain. I have had the tingling sensation. It is probably nerve impingement. (Although Gull warned me on another thread that the tingle/sleep sensation could be neurological. Given your history of shoulder problems, that's not real likely.) I agree with Donna: massage and see if there is an ART therapist in your area. They specialize in releasing tight muscles and nerve impingement. I know you are frustrated; I certainly was and still am periodically. It won't go away overnight though. So baby it like crazy for awhile if you can. Get that suitable husband of your to give you lots of massages to. Don't stop doing your rotator cuff exercises. And stay away from da fly.

poolraat
November 13th, 2006, 04:20 PM
Solar,

Thanks for the interest. To answer your questions, I think I do the one-arm well, but not perfect, thus the comment that I haven't mastered it yet.

I think the one area of difficulty is that my hips drop slightly as I breathe. I don't feel the drop but do feel the rise back to the surface as I'm rolling to the opposite side.

I don't have a coach and I workout alone. I do occassionally set up a video camera and film portions of my workouts but haven't filmed the drill.

SolarEnergy
November 13th, 2006, 04:58 PM
Solar,

Thanks for the interest. To answer your questions, I think I do the one-arm well, but not perfect, thus the comment that I haven't mastered it yet.

I think the one area of difficulty is that my hips drop slightly as I breathe. I don't feel the drop but do feel the rise back to the surface as I'm rolling to the opposite side.

I don't have a coach and I workout alone. I do occassionally set up a video camera and film portions of my workouts but haven't filmed the drill.

Try bilateral breathing during the drill and feel if the impact of breathing is different depending on which side you breathe.

If you feel a hip drop, I'd guess that you breathe same side as the arm working. It's a bit more difficult in some way as you must breathe while having no propulsion whatsoever.

If you could film the drill I would love to see it. It's one of my favorites.

Cheers

funkyfish
December 18th, 2006, 10:34 PM
Greetings. Here's my:2cents: on shoulder problems.
I first injured my left shoulder not from swimming, nor weightlifting, but fromÖtrimming shrubs! This was about 12yrs ago. Everything felt fine that day, shoulders were a bit sore but nothing threatening. Woke up the next morning and couldn't lift my left arm without severe pain. Found out I hurt my (drumroll please) rotator cuff. Never heard of it before then.

To allow my shoulder to heal I took the next 2 weeks off from any lifting. Once I started back again I made sure I trained my rotator cuff. I did it on the days I bench pressed and 8 years down the road have yet to have any real problems with it. But I make sure that I do my rotator cuff stuff regularly, as well as shrugs.

Got back into swimming because the powerlifting thing began tearing up my lower back. Hopefully some "mindfull swimming" will keep my shoulders in tack for years to come.

FlyQueen
December 18th, 2006, 11:35 PM
Tore my labrum just over a year ago ... fun times ... it was not a full tear, thankfully and after one looney surgeon wanted to cut me open a second decided I should try therapy first, and what do you know it worked ... YEAH.

I have some tendonitis in my right shoulder and impingement in both ... for the most part as long as I work on those traps and the other upper back muscles I am pain free ...

As a gymnast I hurt my back ... did quite a good job if I swim a lot of breaststroke I really feel it. Strangely enough I don't feel it on fly ... perhaps the added height of breast with the hip drop? I also can't pull because that seems to annoy my back ... I can't use kickboards because of the shoulder either ... fun, fun ...



Anyway ... when injuries flair up it's a great time to work on those underwater dolphin kicks, lung capacity, kicking, etc.

The Fortress
December 19th, 2006, 08:29 AM
Tore my labrum just over a year ago ... fun times ... it was not a full tear, thankfully and after one looney surgeon wanted to cut me open a second decided I should try therapy first, and what do you know it worked ... YEAH.

I have some tendonitis in my right shoulder and impingement in both ... for the most part as long as I work on those traps and the other upper back muscles I am pain free ...

As a gymnast I hurt my back ... did quite a good job if I swim a lot of breaststroke I really feel it. Strangely enough I don't feel it on fly ... perhaps the added height of breast with the hip drop? I also can't pull because that seems to annoy my back ... I can't use kickboards because of the shoulder either ... fun, fun ...

Heather:

Every ex-gymnast I know hurt their back and was getting cortison shots at meets through college. That's a tough sport. Do you think all that handspringing was not good for our shoulders?

How did you know your labrum was torn? I still haven't gone in for my little MRI visit on this issue b/c I'm just too busy and Krisitina gave me her sinus infection. But I wouldn't want to be cut open either if at all possible!

FlyQueen
December 19th, 2006, 08:38 AM
Heather:

Every ex-gymnast I know hurt their back and was getting cortison shots at meets through college. That's a tough sport. Do you think all that handspringing was not good for our shoulders?

How did you know your labrum was torn? I still haven't gone in for my little MRI visit on this issue b/c I'm just too busy and Krisitina gave me her sinus infection. But I wouldn't want to be cut open either if at all possible!


I had an MRI. Gymnastics definitely hurt the back, coaching gymnastics and spotting and lifting girls that weighed as much as I do wasn't helpful, and doing long distance running wasn't helpful. I've "retired" from running since my back just can't handle it anymore.

I had an MRI for my shoulder. They also did all of those little tests they do and they were all positive for a SLAP tear.

Natalie Coughlin tore her labrum and didn't have surgery.

gull
December 19th, 2006, 09:45 AM
Natalie Coughlin tore her labrum and didn't have surgery.

Has her technique problem been identified yet?

swimr4life
December 19th, 2006, 09:50 AM
Has her technique problem been identified yet?


:rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

The Fortress
December 19th, 2006, 10:05 AM
Has her technique problem been identified yet?

I read that there was nary a bubble in her lane.

FlyQueen
December 19th, 2006, 10:08 AM
Has her technique problem been identified yet?


Actually, this is a road I don't think we want to venture down ... apparently, this was done at the end of a very long fly set and her technique did indeed fall apart ... so we can go into over training, pointless garbig yards, technique, etc ...

Superfly
December 19th, 2006, 11:28 AM
My history:
Heavy weight lifting in the 90s after stopping swimming late 80s.

Management at the time:
Cortison injections (not to be recommended..think i got 10 in total...crazy!), and later right shoulder surgery -00 due to supraspinatus and infraspinatus rupture after windsurfing accident.

Management now (partly copy-pasted from Rick's post above):

* Shoulder exercises with stretch cords. I try to do them twice a week. If I start slacking off on the shoulder exercises, my shoulders start hurting in the pool.

* Trying to focus on technique where I can. Especially in butterfly. Remember to get my head down when entering the water with arms

* Warming up appropriately. Usually every 3-4 months, there's a workout where I am sorely reminded of my need to warmup before working too hard. Sometimes, it's when I'm late for workout, jump in late, and competitive nature takes over since everyone else is already going hard in the main set.

* Knowing when to stop. There are days when I show up for workout, and things just aren't going right... technique is off, too tired, didn't get enough sleep, bad atitude, too many people, etc., etc., etc. Often it's those days that everything falls apart, and technique falls apart, and the shoulders start to go. It's important to see this happening, and either get out, or switch to kicking, or move to the back of the lane and coast, etc. Sometimes you need to let go of today, in order to be able to swim tomorrow.

/Per

slowfish
September 6th, 2012, 12:03 AM
I'm dredging up an old thread here because i'm starting to get some shoulder pain. but after reading through this, i feel pretty lucky cause some of you have been through H.E double hockey sticks with your shoulders.

Since my discomfort is bilateral, i suspect that my quest to get stronger via doing pull ups and pushups and my attempts at exercises to loosen my woefully tight shoulders got me into this mess i'm not really an injured (or i'm in complete denial).

But i'm so tight where one tendon or another inserts into my scapula (i think it's the biceps tendons) that all parts of all strokes that include "out front sculling" are really uncomfortable on the outside of my shoulder down to my elbow. breast is the worst, followed by fly then free. unlike a lot of posts in this thread, back doesn't hurt it at all.

I've now stopped trying to play crossfit, quit trying to stretch my shoulders, and stopped doing the band exercises for rotator cuffs since these irritate the same parts of my shoulders as when i'm swimming. I'm going basics: lat pull downs, biceps, and triceps. but i need to fix the root of the problem: tight shoulders.

Does anyone have any recommendations of articles where i might find some stretches that are safe to try? I hear NOT to do the one where you clasp your hands behind your back and bend over and NOT to grab your elbow and try to strangle yourself. but what *are* safe stretches.

thanks much :-)

GregJS
September 11th, 2012, 01:24 PM
Slowfish, check out the Jan-Feb 2010 issue of usms Swimmer magazine for the shoulder stretches that are now recommended. Unlike the "bad" stretches you mention, which we all used to do standing around the pool deck before we got in, but which actually destabilize the shoulder joint, the stretches in the article act as more of a warm-up for the shoulder muscles while improving stability. In other words, you want loose muscles, but stable - not loose - joints. I've found them to be helpful. There is also a video showing these warm ups out there on the web. Maybe on the US Swimming site?

__steve__
September 11th, 2012, 01:44 PM
http://www.usmsswimmer.com/201001/swimmer_stretching.pdf

MickYoung
September 13th, 2012, 12:15 PM
I had a "torn rotator cuff" (which could be one of a number of things) from swing dancing more than a decade ago.

I do some PT recommended stretches after (almost) every swim workout and then try to do a stretch cord/stretch session before my next swim.

I used to work in orthopedic ORs. I would avoid surgery if possible.

IMO, if you haven't been recommended for surgery by some NON-SURGEON physician, then ortho surgery is a bad idea.

PT, on the other hand, is an excellent idea, whether you go for surgery or not.

slowfish
September 13th, 2012, 04:50 PM
thank you both! this is exactly the kind of article i was looking for.

GregJS
September 14th, 2012, 03:11 PM
Just found a note in my papers about this other youtube video put out by FINA:

Prevention of Shoulder Injuries in Aquatics Sports - YouTube

(you can also youtube it under "Prevention of shoulder injuries in aquatic sports")

These are definitely not stretches; they are exercises - the kind that you might get in physiotherapy.

Might not be what you're looking for, but might be worth mentioning on this thread.