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The Fortress
November 26th, 2006, 11:04 AM
Are shoulder injuries caused solely by improper stroke mechanics? Can we avoid all pain using perfect technique? Can we throw away the ice pack forever? Or can shoulder pain be caused by other factors as well? Vote if you have an opinion.

SolarEnergy
November 26th, 2006, 11:12 AM
Are shoulder injuries due solely to improper stroke mechanics? Can we avoid all pain using perfect technique? Can we throw away the ice pack forever? Or can shoulder pain be caused by other factors as well? Vote if you have an opinion. No absolutely not.

Swimming, like any other sport discipline, is subject to physical limitation constraints. Some of these constraints are shared by most human being. While others will apply only (or more) to certain individuals.

If I could teach all swimmers to swim using Hackett's step arm angle (upon catch), chances are that many would develop shoulder or elbow injuries even if his technique is very often quoted as being perfect.

That is why, well over *good* or *bad* technique consideration, there's *good or bad for one given one's own physical constraints*

When you think about it. The goal in swimming is to increase distance per stroke (IOW pressure on various key points of the stroke) and stroke rate (IOW even more pressure on various key points of the stroke).

I can easily understand how this may upset various body parts that see the amount of stress (generated by this accute pressure) increase day by day.

That's why, logically speaking, it's probably smarter to cut on drag resistance before increasing pressure put on the limbs (especially during the catch).

LindsayNB
November 26th, 2006, 02:34 PM
One of the traps that a discussion like this can fall into all too easily is being sloppy about defining "perfect stroke". Perfect stoke for the purpose of avoiding shoulder pain and perfect stroke for the purpose of maximum speed might very well be different, even for one person. In the thread that I suspect prompted this thread Leslie said:


I think you are engaging in somewhat wishful, highly theoretical thinking in asserting that a beautiful stroke alone can save you from shoulder pain and vault you to the highest levels of swimming. (emphasis added by me)

I think that some people continue to have shoulder problems and repeated shoulder surguries that could be swimming pain free if they were willing to adjust their strokes. They might or might not be able to perform at the same level with the adjusted stroke, either temporarily or possibly in the long term.

"Are [all] shoulder injuries due solely to improper stroke mechanics" is not the right question in my mind. Clearly some shoulder injuries are due to weight lifting or falling off bikes and have nothing to do with swimming technique. I suspect that for just about anyone you could find some swimming technique that would not cause them shoulder problems, although in some cases they might not be able to perform at a very high level using that technique.

I think the interesting question is whether there is a technique that avoids shoulder problems and that it is possible to achieve maximum performance while using, or is there a "healthy" verus "high performance" trade-off? And how big is that trade-off?

My own, evolving, model is that my shoulders can take a certain level of "stress" and then recover before my next swim and therefore not deteriorate over time. I can stress my shoulders more if I take more recovery time before stressing them again. The biggest cause of shoulder stress for me is movements with my elbow behind the plane of my body, and I have found ways to swim free, fly, and breast without any such movements so I don't have shoulder problems if I stick to these three strokes, do some dryland shoulder exercises, and build some rest days into my schedule. I suspect that if I swam 5000m workouts seven days a week I would have shoulder problems, both because of the increased accumulated stresses and because such a high workload would likely lead to breakdown in technique.

KaizenSwimmer
November 26th, 2006, 05:31 PM
Are shoulder injuries caused solely by improper stroke mechanics?

This is a straw man question. No one - including me - has made this claim.

Lindsay has framed the question properly:

1. Are there techniques that materially immunize you from shoulder problems while allowing maximum performance?

OR

2. Is there a trade-off between sound technique and "high performance?"

My reply is an emphatic YES to the first and NO to the second.

The Fortress
November 26th, 2006, 09:04 PM
I think the interesting question is whether there is a technique that avoids shoulder problems and that it is possible to achieve maximum performance while using, or is there a "healthy" verus "high performance" trade-off? And how big is that trade-off?

Excellent question. Much better than the way I framed it. Do we have any research on this question?

The Fortress
November 26th, 2006, 09:20 PM
This is a straw man question. No one - including me - has made this claim.
Lindsay has framed the question properly:
1. Are there techniques that materially immunize you from shoulder problems while allowing maximum performance?
OR
2. Is there a trade-off between sound technique and "high performance?"
My reply is an emphatic YES to the first and NO to the second.


Terry:

You clearly stated on another thread that shoulder injuries were due "primarily" or "principally" or "mostly" to improper technique. I'd have to look back for the exact quote.

I've seen this "straw man" accusation before. But it doesn't matter because I like the way Lindsay rephrased the questions and I withdraw the objectionable word "solely." I think you need to provide more than an "emphatic yes" to #1 though.

I'm particularly curious why, when I already have sound technique in fly, it still hurts my shoulders. I don't think there's much I could do to "immunize" myself with better technique. It seems much more likely that fly simply is hard on shoulders and that, to continue doing it at a high level, I instead should concentrate even more on strenghtening my RC muscles and never get lazy. Or else I will be falling in the "trade off" category.

I don't mean to be argumentative, but I just don't like the view that technique solves virtually everything. I did readily agree that it solves many shoulder problems. In fact, I myself have been called the drill queen for obsessively doing drills to ensure proper technique. But when you embrace the position that technique solves "almost all" problems, I get nervous and feel like I'm being offered the proverbial fountain of youth or snake oil or something.

KaizenSwimmer
November 26th, 2006, 10:27 PM
I'm particularly curious why, when I already have sound technique in fly, it still hurts my shoulders. I don't think there's much I could do to "immunize" myself with better technique. It seems much more likely that fly simply is hard on shoulders.

In 34 years of coaching I've seen no evidence fly is "hard on shoulders."
You may have an anatomical condition. You may have pre-existing weakness not related to swimming. You may even have technique that's less sound than you think.

But I've got an actively torn RC in my left shoulder, a repaired major problem in my right and currently do an average of about 400 ButterFrog a day, without a bit of complaint. My training partner, Dave Barra is swimming significant volumes of fly (67 x 50 last Tuesday) without any difficulty -- and he's not a "natural" flyer either; his shoulders and back not as "rangy" as one would prefer.

Over the years I've coached many swimmers who were very high performing flyers (fastest were male 1:45 200 yards and female 2:00 200 yards in 1982) who never needed to ice their shoulders or adjust training.
There's nothing about the fly stroke, when done right, that's inherently more stressful to one's shoulder than free or back.

The Fortress
November 26th, 2006, 10:37 PM
[quote=KaizenSwimmer;68483]In 34 years of coaching I've seen no evidence fly is "hard on shoulders." You may have an anatomical condition. You may have pre-existing weakness not related to swimming. You may even have technique that's less sound than you think.[quote]


Now, I only said "sound" technique. I did not say "perfect." (As you must admit, I've fessed up to all sorts of technique flaws on this forum and actively sought advice. But I do know how to do fly, Terry.) I may have "anatomical" issues. I'm told I have loose tendons and cartilege.

If fly is not hard on shoulders, why do so many people on this forum assert that it is? Or why do they cut back on flyor wear fins when their shoulders are sore? Is everyone doing it wrong? Why isn't this anecdotal evidence as compelling as your own anecdotal evidence?

geochuck
November 27th, 2006, 10:34 AM
Hola

Not only from wrong swimming technique.

I have seen many injuries caused by improper stretching and exercises.

islandsox
November 27th, 2006, 11:34 AM
I very much like Lindsay's comments on this topic. I do not believe that shoulder injuries are due primarily to improper stroke technique. And, I can attest to this.

Terry mentions his fast male and fast female flyers not having any problems whatsoever with ongoing butterfly training. But I have a different point to make. WHEN this happens, not if it happens. Our bodies are marvelous machines and ultimately perform for years and years. But after 20, 30, 40 years of rotation, things can start to breakdown. When I was young and swam AAU from age 11 to 19, no problems. When I entered masters and swam that for 15 years, no problem. But in the early 90s, my left shoulder broke down due to high volume, not poor technique nor lack of stretching. This was factual as I had been warned about it several years (tests) before it happened and I took steps to try to get more "time" out of my shoulder with more stretching, more RC exercises, etc.

Everyone seems to have the answer to this question and I don't believe any of us really do, but I know for a fact from my experience that years and years of volume did mine in.

Donna

LindsayNB
November 27th, 2006, 12:29 PM
If fly is not hard on shoulders, why do so many people on this forum assert that it is? Or why do they cut back on flyor wear fins when their shoulders are sore? Is everyone doing it wrong? Why isn't this anecdotal evidence as compelling as your own anecdotal evidence?

The easy answer to your first question would be that a lot of people swim fly with a style that is hard on their shoulders! :eek:

A possible answer to your third question is that it doesn't take a high percentage of posters having fly-initiated shoulder problems to generate a lot of posts on the forums.

The answer to your final question is that Terry's evidence is less anecdotal than the postings on the forum. He is saying that he has a fairly large group of swimmers that he has taught a technique that doesn't result in shoulder problems and that his success rate for that group has been very high. On the other hand, to be equally convincing you would need to get an equal percentage of all posters on the boards to say that fly WAS hard on their shoulders AND that they were following Terry's technique advice and STILL having problems.

I think Terry's main point is that there are many programs where shoulder problems are taken for granted and people treat them with ice and medication etc. without making a serious attempt at finding technique-based solutions. I think he has given reasonably convincing evidence that it is possible to swim very fast using the technique he advocates, although I guess he could further bolster his case by quoting some 50 times on top of the 200 times. To fully address Donna's point I guess he would need to follow a large group of fast flyers who continued on for several decades.

I only have a small amount of anecdotal evidence to work with but in my experience with swimmers at my club a lot of experienced swimmers who say fly causes them shoulder problems are surprisingly unwilling to make changes that might solve that problem. As an example a big cause of shoulder issues with freestyle are caused by not rotating enough so that the arm is moving behind the plane of the swimmer's body during recovery (I sometimes have this problem when I get sloppy and don't rotate enough) and some people recover their arms in fly the same way as there is no side to side role in fly. If you watch elite fly swimmers you can separate recovery technique into two styles, in one the hands follow an upward arc of varying height, in the other the hands make a fairly flat recovery just above the water. In our club at least, the people who have shoulder issues usually use the arching recovery. Some people suggest that your palms should be facing toward the ceiling during the recovery, for me that causes immediate shoulder pain.

Anyway, to "prove" Terry wrong you would need to find a set of people who are willing to actually implement Terry's technique advice, and, having done so, are still having shoulder problems or are unable to perform at the same level.

Don't get me wrong, I have no illusions that I have the answers to these questions, I'm just pointing out the "logic" aspects of the discussion, and throwing in bits of personal experience.

The Fortress
November 27th, 2006, 01:03 PM
Lindsay:

How do you know I haven't been a swim coach? Are you on Terry's payroll?

Thanks for the thoughtful answer. I will have to mull it over some more. But I can safely say that I do not fall into the category of swimmers that are unwilling to make changes. I also do not fall into the category of swimmers that are doing fly incorrectly according to your description and my own knowledge of the stroke. As you yourself pointed out, I think it is difficult to be an elite flyer if you're doing the stroke wrong.

DCapp
November 27th, 2006, 01:22 PM
Along these lines, are there common errors in stroke technique that do cause shoulder problems? I am new to swimming (just learned at 34 years old) and am experiencing some pain. I only swim freestyle and learned from reading TI (thanks, Terry). I went from struggling through 2 laps to swimming a mile fairly comfortably, but my left shoulder is sore afterwards.

I realize without seeing my stroke, you can't tell me specifically what I am doing wrong, but if there are common mistakes you know of, that would be a start.

Thanks.

Dan

scyfreestyler
November 27th, 2006, 01:25 PM
How unfortunate that we can't have an orthopedist on here as well as a cardio MD.

Due to the differences is anatomy, age, stroke (swim stroke, not the blockage type), workout volume, percentage of that volume performed with good stroke and percentage performed at point of failure causing poor stroke, etc. it would be impossible for shoulder injuries in all people to be caused by the same factors.

gull
November 27th, 2006, 02:18 PM
Are there techniques that materially immunize you from shoulder problems while allowing maximum performance?...My reply is an emphatic YES ...

No question poor technique can predispose an individual to shoulder problems, just as good technique can lessen the risk. But materially immunize? That's a pretty strong statement. You posted that most shoulder problems are related to technique. Given the prevalence of shoulder problems in swimmers, elite and otherwise, are we correct in assuming then that most of them do not have proper technique? My point is that the shoulder is a complex joint, and swimmers face many of the same anatomic issues that pitchers do.

Anyway, my solution was to treat the inflammation, strengthen the rotator cuff, and of course improve my technique (most recently by breathing bilaterally).

scyfreestyler
November 27th, 2006, 02:29 PM
Would it be fair to say that the fastest way across a pool is not the safest for your shoulders? Things such as early vertical forearm and pulling through the catch might increase speed but they will also increase wear on the body, no?

swimr4life
November 27th, 2006, 02:52 PM
My personal experience from swimming for 32 years (I used to do a lot of fly!) and coaching for 12 years - fly IS hard on your shoulders - even with excellent technique. There are way too many variables to say it is due to technique alone. I think it comes down to anatomy and how your shoulder is put together. Fly is not a "normal" position to put your shoulder in over and over for any amount of yardage. If you are genetically predisposed to have loose joints you would be more apt to have problems....its that simple. Why else would Natalie Coughlin or Misty Hyman have shoulder problems? I wouldn't say their technique was bad! Countless other Olympic caliber swimmers with excellent technique have had shoulder problems/surgery.

chaos
November 27th, 2006, 05:18 PM
[QUOTE=LindsayNB;68504]

I think Terry's main point is that there are many programs where shoulder problems are taken for granted and people treat them with ice and medication etc. without making a serious attempt at finding technique-based solutions. QUOTE]

This goes for any stroke! Last season, the three fastest freestylers in our club all suffered shoulder problems. (one still has not yet returned to the pool).
I don't think the other two have made any effort to change anything about their strokes.

dorothyrde
November 27th, 2006, 05:43 PM
Actually, my shoulder issues started in my late 20's, 10 years before I started to swim, so I can definately say my shoulder problems are not from swimming the stroke incorrectly. I do think that there is a genetic side to it. I am making sure my daughter pays attention to strokes, and does preventive exercises to strengthen the areas that are weak in me. Will it help, who knows? She is not a high volume swimmer, so we may never know. I know if I up my volume, my shoulders hurt. If I do too many push-ups, my shoulders hurt. I have to know my limits to remain pain free.

ljlete
November 27th, 2006, 05:55 PM
All,

I just wanted to add a little comment that I have not yet seen (As moderator, I get emails on what you all write here. so please :hug: more than :argue: please) I think that you need to look at other things in your life. I tend to get a sore shoulder on the left side - especially as I get back in after being out for a while. What I have found is that I put pressure on the shoulder with other things in life like my computer bag as I come and go to/from work and my wife putting her head on that shoulder as we watch TV and the like. I have changed my habits and have found that the pain is nearly gone after about two weeks. So be aware of what else you do with your shoulders - maybe the swim bag is a bit to heavy to be carrying in on the shoulder.

Leo

nkfrench
November 27th, 2006, 06:10 PM
Sleep on one side, face on back of hand and elbow pointed at bed headboard
=vs=
Sleep on one side, lying atop arm
=vs=
Sleep flat on back

Any studies done on the effects of sleep posture ?

The Fortress
November 27th, 2006, 06:30 PM
[quote=KaizenSwimmer;68483]In 34 years of coaching I've seen no evidence fly is "hard on shoulders." You may even have technique that's less sound than you think.[quote]

I would much rather be doing this :hug:. I think I'm actually on record as praising Terry for his advice, interest and coaching in many other threads. Indeed, I think I've told others to follow his technical advice to avoid injury. I would be happy to do :hug: here too if I hadn't been scolded for being a bad lawyer and told that 34 years of coaching trumps anything I might say about fly.

gull
November 27th, 2006, 07:21 PM
I would be happy to do :hug: here too if I hadn't been scolded for being a bad lawyer and told that 34 years of coaching trumps anything I might say about fly.

Whoa! You mean there are good lawyers?

What do you call 100 lawyers at the bottom of the ocean?

SolarEnergy
November 27th, 2006, 08:28 PM
Lindsay:

How do you know I haven't been a swim coach? Are you on Terry's payroll?

Thanks for the thoughtful answer. I will have to mull it over some more. But I can safely say that I do not fall into the category of swimmers that are unwilling to make changes. I also do not fall into the category of swimmers that are doing fly incorrectly according to your description and my own knowledge of the stroke. As you yourself pointed out, I think it is difficult to be an elite flyer if you're doing the stroke wrong. If you want to improve fly, slow down. Relaxe, and initiate ondulation with the head. Before surfacing, look up. Look at where you're about to surface before your head breaks through the water. That'll bring your upper body in a favorable angle to ease up the recovery. Breathe every stroke is ideal to work on this aspect. Personally, even when I don't breathe, I like to move the head upward ever so slightly.

I tend to agree with you on one aspect. Anything can upset an already sore shoulder, including butterfly. So ease up on the volume. Don't exced 25m at the time to keep technical level sufficient.

Butterfly will hurt you bad if you commit into distances that trigger heavy fatigue. Cause then you don't have the ressources anymore to recover.

KaizenSwimmer
November 27th, 2006, 08:35 PM
I would be happy to do :hug: here too if I hadn't been scolded for being a bad lawyer and told that 34 years of coaching trumps anything I might say about fly.

Cmon Leslie, I didn't criticize your lawyering. I said I was surprised that as a lawyer you would quote or cite me as loosely as you have. When I cited and responded to your post, it was with an exact quote. And here again, you're being pretty loose in your interpretation of what I wrote. I did not scold you for being a bad lawyer. Nor did I infer that 34 years of coaching trumps anything. But it's not an unreasonable expectation that some 25,000 hours of coaching and teaching experience with literally thousands of swimmers should be received as something more than anecdotal, nor as purely self-interested, which often seems the case here. I'm not making this argument as energetically as I have to sell a few more technique videos, nor to win a debate. I am doing so because I've observed the swimming culture first hand, professionally and personally, for 40+ years.

At the same time I have clearly stipulated that any number of factors can be contributory to shoulder problems - volume, anatomy, unrelated injury (weight lifting, a car accident and a mtn bike accident in my case) carrying a heavy computer bag the wrong way. But in literally hundreds of first-hand observations (and I have been asked by orthopods to consult on serious shoulder injuries on three occasions -- and in each case was able to confirm that technique was the major reason and specify the exact stresses being placed on the shoulder - in each case the orthopod agreed with my analysis.) I've seen over and over and over that poor technique has been the primary and most frequent cause.

Dave's anecdote about the three fastest swimmers on our team (the Masters team we swim with, not the age group team we coach) incurring disabling shoulder injuries, requiring months away from swimming, is entirely typical of the attitude I have seen to pervade the swimming culture.

All three have choppy or lurching, high-turnover freestyle strokes. All three are 15 to 25 years younger than me. All three swim (or swam) significantly less volume than Dave and I (as we swim 6 days a week and they swam 3 to 4). All three have responded to their injuries with rest, rehab, kicking, etc. None have changed their strokes, probably because in college all three experienced some measure of success with those strokes. That tendency to resist accepting that technique, in most cases, is both cause and cure is what I'm talking about.

About Fly. Lindsay asked about times for shorter distances than the 200. The male who went 1:45 in 1982 went 47+ in the 100. In 1998 one of my West Point swimmers went 20.7 for 50 Fly on the 200 MR and 48.4 in the 100 yd fly - improved from 53.8 during his plebe season two years earlier (before I began coaching him.)

I should explain that my practice is to avoid high volume repeat training in the Short Axis strokes. I never use fly or breast as "training strokes," because I believe their timing is too critical and too prone to breakdown from moderate fatigue. So I tend to rely on relatively short repeat distances in both, or to mix those strokes with others in IM sets.

The male who went 1:45 in 1982 (Andy Wren) was a 1:57 200 flyer when I began coaching him in 1978. He had often done sets of 100 to 200 repeats. I wasn't close to satisfied with his technique when I met him. I changed his stroke and limited his repeats distances to those for which he was able to maintain the new form. For the first six months I coached him he never swam a repeat farther than 50M. If he went as far as 100m in practice it was one only and done from a dive as an attempt at even splitting. At the end of that season - six months later - he had improved from 52.8 and 1:57+ to 49 and 1:49. We later increased his fly training incrementally, only as he proved able to maintain strict form throughout sets. His best LCM times were 55+ and 2:00+.

The West Point swimmer, Joe Novak, had a best time in the 100 of 53.8 when I met him. The first time I gave him a set of 8 x 50 (scy) Fly on 1:00 (2nd week of Jan 1997) he was swimming Butterstruggle by the 3rd 50. I stopped the set and told him he could never swim another stroke of Fly that way. We spent a week re-engineering his stroke, then I told him he should swim only as many strokes as he was capable of swimming with the new form. As soon as he felt his form break down - even in mid-lap - he was to stop swimming fly. For the next five weeks, his repeats were mainly limited to five strokes or less. He never swam farther than 25 yards in practice. At the Patriot League meet in mid-Feb (six weeks after I taught him the new form) he went 49.1 in the 100 and broke the conference record. The year before he had failed to make even the bonus heat.

So, it should be clear that high volume repeats is not my way of coaching Fly. But in all the years I've been coaching, I have not seen any greater incidence of shoulder injury among butterfliers (and I must have coached 100 to 200 by now) than among any other stroke. Which is why I opined that fly is not inherently "harder" on shoulders, when swum properly.

If the personal experience of any person on this forum is otherwise, I'm not here to argue with it. My intent is to share observations from coaching a fairly large sample of the general swimming population, ranging from novice to world-ranked and from 10 and under to middle age.

The Fortress
November 27th, 2006, 09:13 PM
Whoa! You mean there are good lawyers?
What do you call 100 lawyers at the bottom of the ocean?

I clearly should have told Chlorini I was a lawyer in a PM.

I know that joke, Gull.

Answer: A good start.

Here's another: How can you tell a lawyer is lying? (2 possible answers)


Terry:

I cannot bring myself to write a reply brief tonight.

I will just say that I don't believe I fall into that close-minded "swimming culture" you've mentioned. I also have never, ever suggested anything in the way of self-interest on your part. To the contrary, I think (and have said) that it is admirable that you offer practical, technical and training advice to everyone on the forum. It's obvious you put a lot of time and thought into it, and I am sure it benefits many of us. I count myself in that group. I am still doing that freestyle drill you recommended to me. I also think your experience provides valuable perspective and insight. Who could disagree with that?

I was just being feisty on the "most" injuries are caused by poor technique point. I'm allowed to quibble with you on this, and I'm apparently not the only one, judging from the poll results thus far. (It doesn't look like you voted!) In fact, everyone has a viewpoint here. :woot: Mine is that my current shoulder problems are not due to poor technique and that other people's problems may not be either. Race ya in fly anytime. (I'm giving you the distance free and open water...)

The Fortress
November 27th, 2006, 10:13 PM
Nor did I infer that 34 years of coaching trumps anything.

I don't think "infer" is the right word here. Perhaps you meant that you didn't mean to "imply" it? I hope not. It seemed kind of implied. As just one example (too tired to round them all up), I said "fly is hard on shoulders." You said, "in 34 years of coaching, I've seen no evidence fly is hard on shoulders." I'm taking Solar's advice, :bow: , and staying away from fly for a bit. I think I'll do fly drills instead. Gotta make sure I'm chest pressing.

islandsox
November 27th, 2006, 10:25 PM
Out of all the replies on this very important topic, I like what Solar and Lindsay had to say the best. But I also got to chuckle at NKFrench's reply.

I noticed that Terry mentioned something about self-interest, sorry I didn't quote it in my reply. I know that it takes great dedication and love of the sport to stay in the business for how many years? Oh, that's right 40 or so. My biggest problem with Terry's response to this and other topics is his posting of his resume so much I forget what the topic is.

The reason I am mentioning this is when I came aboard not too long ago and was referring to my Olympic days, a person pointed out that it sounded like bragging and after I thought about it, I realized that person was right. So, I now try to stay on topic without any reference to the coaches I had, nor all the work that got me to the Games. After all, that was a umpteeen years ago and this is today, not yesterday.

Also, I have found out that people normally don't listen real well to those tooting their own horn. A lesson I learned here recently and am glad I did.

Both Solar and Lindsay have explained their thoughts on this shoulder topic pretty well, and as a swimmer, still learning after all these years, I take their words to heart.

So, again, my vote is volume of rotation can be harmful to shoulders. And most all of the explanations and descriptions have been kept simple and to the point and I am thankful for that, too!!!

Donna

Peter Cruise
November 28th, 2006, 12:50 AM
I will point out one thing and then shut up: it is possible to swim butterfly very fast and repeat with poor technique physiologically. Not at the Crocker level. Not at the Phelps level. But at the stubborn, strong Masters level? Yes!But not without paying a long-term price...

gull
November 28th, 2006, 05:42 AM
Rather than stating that technique is the "primary causative factor", I would suggest something to the effect that technique is a "contributing factor." I suspect we could all agree with that statement.

KaizenSwimmer
November 28th, 2006, 06:03 AM
I will just say that I don't believe I fall into that close-minded "swimming culture" you've mentioned. I also have never, ever suggested anything in the way of self-interest on your part.

Indeed I've seen plenty of evidence in your posts that you do not fall into that culture. However that earlier post where you suggested it was "too easy" to ascribe shoulder injury to technique led me to believe you had fallen for their belief system. Nor do I believe you are among those who see self-interest in my posts. But some do seemingly suspect it every time I advocate in behalf of a technique focus. Not just here but nearly anywhere I might post, speak or write.

And I don't believe for a moment that you're mistaken in your analysis of your own personal situation. My vehemence is directed at attitudes in the the broader swimming community, which I have long thought critically wrongheaded in its willingness, as I said, to accept that an epidemic (and one could not call it less than that) of shoulder injuries - at increasingly younger ages - is an expected, even acceptable "price to be paid for great ambition in this sport."

I think it verges on a mass delusion and sickness.

One reason I am willing to mount something like a crusade on the issue is that I still have not forgiven myself for the one disabling shoulder injury in 34 years for which my own ignorance was a contributory factor.

In 1980 I was coaching a very promising 14 y.o. girl distance swimmer; she'd gone 4:41 for 400M LC at 12 and 17:08 for 1500M LC at 13. We religiously did an extensive stretching program before practice. She had hypermobile shoulders, which I took to be a good thing as it meant she was "better" at the stretching program than nearly anyone else.
At 14 she began to develop tendinitis symptoms. In response I had her spend more time stretching while reducing her volume. The symptoms continued to worsen until the pain became disabling. She went to an orthopedist and when her mother came back from the initial visit and enlightened me on the significance of laxity in the shoulders and that the doc said she should be doing stabilizing exercises and no stretching I was deeply chagrined.
After surgery, she never recovered to her previous level and I have ever since felt personally responsible for ruining that young lady's prospects.

She did swim with technique that today I would have changed - wide-swinging recovery with a long-forward entry. It looked relaxed, displayed great rhythm and integrated perfectly with her 2-beat kick, so I only fine-tuned it. Today I'd change it to a more compact recovery with a closer, steeper entry.

However in this instance, her technique was not the primary cause. Anatomy was, with technique, volume (8 to 10K LCM/day) and my ill-advised stretching emphasis all contributing.

All the other disabling injuries I've seen were by swimmers who I did not coach, but could observe closely enough to associate injury with certain kinds of technique -- and by the way, there were far more such injuries suffered by freestylers than flyers.

KaizenSwimmer
November 28th, 2006, 06:11 AM
Rather than stating that technique is the "primary causative factor", I would suggest something to the effect that technique is a "contributing factor."

You're perfectly welcome to make that statement -- and you have. You'd probably get wide agreement. I wouldn't be among those willing to endorse a statement that seems to suggest technique is not pre-eminent among all causes.

The Fortress
November 28th, 2006, 08:29 AM
I will point out one thing and then shut up: it is possible to swim butterfly very fast and repeat with poor technique physiologically. Not at the Crocker level. Not at the Phelps level. But at the stubborn, strong Masters level? Yes!But not without paying a long-term price...

So succinctly put. :D I think many of us may fall into the culture of "stubborn strong Masters."

swimr4life
November 28th, 2006, 08:37 AM
I definitely resemble that description!!! :thhbbb:

The Fortress
November 28th, 2006, 08:42 AM
Nor do I believe you are among those who see self-interest in my posts. But some do seemingly suspect it every time I advocate in behalf of a technique focus. Not just here but nearly anywhere I might post, speak or write.

I'm sure this gets very tiresome.

I think it verges on a mass delusion and sickness.

This might be a bit strong.

there were far more such injuries suffered by freestylers than flyers

That's why I am willing to believe that my freestyle technique may contibute to my shoulder problem. But I'm still the most sore after fly.

aquageek
November 28th, 2006, 08:52 AM
I think it verges on a mass delusion and sickness.

Alternatively, it could be due to an overwhelming decades long abundance of evidence. Prolonged swimming gives one sore shoulders, perfect technique or not. Sitting on a rock in the desert with your legs crossed and humming will not change this fact.

swimr4life
November 28th, 2006, 08:58 AM
Leslie, maybe it's our genetic predisposition that makes us that way? I think it is a survival of the "fly" species.....only the strong & stubborn survive the rigors of butterstruggle through the years....but not without adaptations....our bodies adapt by dislocating our shoulders to accomodate the stressors of the fly.:rofl:

I'm probably one that needs to stop training more than 5 strokes of fly at a time......that sounds like a sprint flyer's dream! I can only hold my stroke for a 50 then it becomes butterstruggle. I no longer swim the 100 fly....I just can't train fly enough to hold it together due to shoulder pain. I have found I do ok only training IM. Maybe I need Terry to look at my fly and tell me what I can do to improve!

swimr4life
November 28th, 2006, 09:02 AM
Alternatively, it could be due to an overwhelming decades long abundance of evidence. Prolonged swimming gives one sore shoulders, perfect technique or not. Sitting on a rock in the desert with your legs crossed and humming will not change this fact.

I almost said "Where's Aquageek when we need him?" in my previous post! Then I see your comment...ironic! I must have ESP! We need your sense of humor!

FlyQueen
November 28th, 2006, 09:15 AM
Sleep on one side, face on back of hand and elbow pointed at bed headboard
=vs=
Sleep on one side, lying atop arm
=vs=
Sleep flat on back

Any studies done on the effects of sleep posture ?

I'm not sure of studies, but if I sleep atop my arm ... well, if I even try to sleep atop my arm I'm in searing pain rather quickly. Can't do it ...

swimr4life
November 28th, 2006, 09:26 AM
I'm not sure of studies, but if I sleep atop my arm ... well, if I even try to sleep atop my arm I'm in searing pain rather quickly. Can't do it ...


My doctor told me to never raise my hand above shoulder level when I lay on my side. It places too much stress on your shoulder. The only time I lay on my bad right shoulder is when I am doing my rotator cuff exercises for my left shoulder!

gull
November 28th, 2006, 09:48 AM
You're perfectly welcome to make that statement -- and you have. You'd probably get wide agreement. I wouldn't be among those willing to endorse a statement that seems to suggest technique is not pre-eminent among all causes.

I don't understand why you, as a coach, seem to minimize the importance of anatomical factors. It is well-recognized (in the medical literature) that shoulder impingement in many cases results from a muscle imbalance, hence the emphasis on strengthening the rotator cuff and stabilizing the scapula. The shoulder joint, unlike the hip, is not a "ball in socket"; rather, the head of the humerus is suspended by surrounding muscles and ligaments. As we age, muscles weaken, ligaments dessicate, joint spaces narrow--independent of our technique. Consequently, I believe all Masters swimmers (injured or not) should adhere to a home exercise program that maintains the health of the shoulder joint and allows them to keep swimming (with proper technique, of course).

swimr4life
November 28th, 2006, 10:04 AM
I don't understand why you, as a coach, seem to minimize the importance of anatomical factors. It is well-recognized (in the medical literature) that shoulder impingement in many cases results from a muscle imbalance, hence the emphasis on strengthening the rotator cuff and stabilizing the scapula. The shoulder joint, unlike the hip, is not a "ball in socket"; rather, the head of the humerus is suspended by surrounding muscles and ligaments. As we age, muscles weaken, ligaments dessicate, joint spaces narrow--independent of our technique. Consequently, I believe all Masters swimmers (injured or not) should adhere to a home exercise program that maintains the health of the shoulder joint and allows them to keep swimming (with proper technique, of course).


Gull, I completely agree. Even though I have swam competitively for almost 32 years off and on, I did not have shoulder problems until the past 5-6 years. My technique has not changed. My body (shoulder joint especially) has just "aged".

poolraat
November 28th, 2006, 10:54 AM
Here's another:How can you tell a lawyer is lying? (2 possible answers)

I know one: Her (don't take this personally) lips are moving.
What's the other?

LindsayNB
November 28th, 2006, 11:29 AM
I think Terry has introduced an expansion of the technique issue, and I think it would be unfortunate if it were overlooked due to the recent volume of posts.

To put it in my own words, one has to consider not only a swimmer's technique as exemplified when swimming a 25 when well rested, there is also the technique they are swimming the final 25 of the last 200 in a 10x200 set! Ok, not many of us do such sets but I have seen a few people talk about having done them, and more importantly many of us will suffer deterioration of technique even on much more modest sets. So, a defensible hypothesis would be that some of the people who find butterfly is hard on their shoulders even though they have good technique are actually suffering from training butterfly beyond the point where they could maintain their good form.

Craig also made some good points about the effect of age on shoulders. Which leads me to wonder whether it is really productive to debate the ranking of causes, in the end one has to address the specific case of the swimmer in question, and you should really look at all the common problems and their solutions to see if they apply.

Leslie: in your case I seem to recollect you commenting that your shoulder problems occurred after doing major fly sets, I think you may have even refered to overdoing them? So, assuming that you are correct that your technique is sound perhaps a good question is whether you did some sets that pushed beyond what you could maintain strict technique on? Or perhaps just that the sets so tired out some of the stabilizing muscles that they couldn't subsequently do their job properly.

The Fortress
November 28th, 2006, 11:31 AM
Answer: Other lawyers look interested!

(Don't worry, Floyd, I'm well used to lawyer-bashing jokes.)

poolraat
November 28th, 2006, 11:39 AM
(Don't worry, Floyd, I'm well used to lawyer-bashing jokes.)

Lawyer jokes are more fun than engineer jokes. Engineernjokes are kind of boring.

swimr4life
November 28th, 2006, 11:40 AM
Or perhaps just that the sets so tired out some of the stabilizing muscles that they couldn't subsequently do their job properly.

Very good point. From what I have learned about shoulders with stability problems, those rotator cuff muscles are extremely important to keeping that joint healthy! If those muscles are fatigued, they can not hold a hypermobile shoulder in the right position.

The Fortress
November 28th, 2006, 11:48 AM
To put it in my own words, one has to consider not only a swimmer's technique as exemplified when swimming a 25 when well rested, there is also the technique they are swimming the final 25 of the last 200 in a 10x200 set! Ok, not many of us do such sets but I have seen a few people talk about having done them, and more importantly many of us will suffer deterioration of technique even on much more modest sets. So, a defensible hypothesis would be that some of the people who find butterfly is hard on their shoulders even though they have good technique are actually suffering from training butterfly beyond the point where they could maintain their good form.

Leslie: in your case I seem to recollect you commenting that your shoulder problems occurred after doing major fly sets, I think you may have even refered to overdoing them? So, assuming that you are correct that your technique is sound perhaps a good question is whether you did some sets that pushed beyond what you could maintain strict technique on? Or perhaps just that the sets so tired out some of the stabilizing muscles that they couldn't subsequently do their job properly.

I have not done 10 x 200 fly sets since youth. About a month ago, I swam some long IMs and race pace fly with fins. I felt like I was having a nice "power" set and not straining much. But I wouldn't swear that my technique didn't break down on that or other occasions. I think it's just as likely, as you said, that I "tired out the stabilizing muscles."

The Fortress
November 28th, 2006, 11:50 AM
I think Terry has introduced an expansion of the technique issue, and I think it would be unfortunate if it were overlooked due to the recent volume of posts..

Agreed. But which "expansion" were you referring to?

LindsayNB
November 28th, 2006, 01:43 PM
Agreed. But which "expansion" were you referring to?

That even people with good technique can stress their shoulders by attempting to swim more fly than they are ready for.

The Fortress
November 28th, 2006, 03:53 PM
That even people with good technique can stress their shoulders by attempting to swim more fly than they are ready for.

I think I just agreed with that. :)

Peter Cruise
November 28th, 2006, 03:58 PM
A simple solution to this conundrum would be to outlaw butterfly...

KaizenSwimmer
November 28th, 2006, 06:18 PM
I believe all Masters swimmers (injured or not) should adhere to a home exercise program that maintains the health of the shoulder joint and allows them to keep swimming (with proper technique, of course).

I believe I've posted several times that I do exactly that, which indicates I have not minimized the importance of anatomical factors. I have several times stipulated that it's a contributory factor. How many times must I do that?

KaizenSwimmer
November 28th, 2006, 06:20 PM
My biggest problem with Terry's response to this and other topics is his posting of his resume so much I forget what the topic is.

I related examples of swimmers and times because I was asked to.

wrybosome
November 28th, 2006, 06:35 PM
So those of you doing preventative maintenance routines on your shoulders, what do those routines look like? Are they weighlifting sets or PT type exercises or both?

poolraat
November 28th, 2006, 08:02 PM
So those of you doing preventative maintenance routines on your shoulders, what do those routines look like? Are they weighlifting sets or PT type exercises or both?

I use the exercises shown in Mel Goldstein's book Swimming Past 50, and recently added the exercises demonstrated on the drill of the week section of the Go Swim website.

The Fortress
November 28th, 2006, 11:03 PM
So those of you doing preventative maintenance routines on your shoulders, what do those routines look like? Are they weighlifting sets or PT type exercises or both?

Wyrbosome:

I weight lift and do PT-type exercises. I've read through the Buchberger 12 book. I understand there is a Buchberger 12 video that I should probably purchase that has additional exercises. I haven't read Poolraat's book, but I probably should too. When I'm being disciplined, I do lots of high rep light weight exercises with handweights, shoulder blade protraction/retraction stuff, triceps extensions, prone hitch hiker, shrugs, sidelying stuff, rotating a ball on the wall. When I go to the gym, I always make sure to do the chest press and seated dips. But I do not bend my elbows. I put the setting on 60 pounds or so and only make smaller shrug-like movements to target the rotator cuff muscles. I do some of my hand weights on a bosu to strengthen my loose ankles and work the core.

It is probably advisable to do lat pulldowns and V pulldowns, but I'm somehow worried they might hurt shoulders. What they would probably do is strengthen the upper back, which may help the trap/rhomboid muscles. But I'm not an expert on this. Hope that's somewhat helpful. Good luck.

gull
November 29th, 2006, 05:42 AM
I believe I've posted several times that I do exactly that, which indicates I have not minimized the importance of anatomical factors. I have several times stipulated that it's a contributory factor. How many times must I do that?


Apparently we agree that anatomical factors are important contributors to the development of swimmer's shoulder/shoulder impingement. Sorry for the misunderstanding.:hug:

wrybosome
November 29th, 2006, 08:23 AM
Thanks for your responses to my questions everyone. I intend to incorporate as much of this advice as I can into what I'm doing. The shoulder pain flared up much worse yesterday and today so I'm off to my doctor. If I wind up seeing an ortho I'll ask their opinion on the anatomy/technique/conditioning/overuse aspects of the discussion. It seems likely to me that (in my newbie wisdom) all of these things are important contributing factors, with each aspect influencing the others in a not-simple way. For instance, I'm sure my technique is far from perfect while at the same time I don't have years of swimming conditioning, and my low shoulder flexibility must influence how I'm stroking as well.

FlyQueen
November 29th, 2006, 09:01 AM
A simple solution to this conundrum would be to outlaw butterfly...

THAT is most certainly NOT the answer ...

The Fortress
November 29th, 2006, 09:14 AM
Eliminating butterfly would probably be as sad and disputatious as eliminating butterfrog.

On another note, I was reading a disputatious TI-related thread and saw that Terry said (not quoting exactly now) that a PT told him that if you had to ice regularly you should "STOP" doing the activity altogether. I know some swimmers who love swimming and are in the hot tub icing regularly. They would quite sad to STOP.

Is this really true?

swimr4life
November 29th, 2006, 09:21 AM
I sure hope not!

LindsayNB
November 29th, 2006, 10:18 AM
I think it's just as likely, as you said, that I "tired out the stabilizing muscles."

Which raises the question: if one's problems are caused by the stabilizing muscles getting fatigued, does doing a lot of dryland exercise of these muscles help or hurt? Or perhaps is there a way to build up these muscles without causing further fatigue that might actually make things worse? It would definately seem to argue against doing dryland before swimming.

swimr4life
November 29th, 2006, 10:24 AM
Which raises the question: if one's problems are caused by the stabilizing muscles getting fatigued, does doing a lot of dryland exercise of these muscles help or hurt? Or perhaps is there a way to build up these muscles without causing further fatigue that might actually make things worse? It would definately seem to argue against doing dryland before swimming.

Lindsay,
My Orthopedist and my PT have stressed that I NEVER do my rotator cuff exercises before I swim! ONLY after I swim. I need those suckers to hold my shoulder together!

FlyQueen
November 29th, 2006, 10:31 AM
Which raises the question: if one's problems are caused by the stabilizing muscles getting fatigued, does doing a lot of dryland exercise of these muscles help or hurt? Or perhaps is there a way to build up these muscles without causing further fatigue that might actually make things worse? It would definately seem to argue against doing dryland before swimming.


The flip side of that is that you can just as easily hurt yourself lifting if you lift after swimming because of muscle fatigue. Rotator cuff exercises are different they aren't really lifting in the sense you are talking about. Additionally, it's been discussed at length here that most top programs lift before they swim. I think it was Jeff (?) that said they did it the other way around one year at UT and lots of guys were getting hurt.

LindsayNB
November 29th, 2006, 10:37 AM
So I guess it should be weight lifting type dryland before swimming and rotator cuff exercises type dryland after?

The Fortress
November 29th, 2006, 12:28 PM
Apparently we agree that anatomical factors are important contributors to the development of swimmer's shoulder/shoulder impingement. Sorry for the misunderstanding.:hug:


I might faint. I do believe Gull is kissing Terry. :woot: Hurray for the importance of anatomical factors. Now I would like to trade mine with someone else.

gull
November 29th, 2006, 12:55 PM
I might faint. I do believe Gull is kissing Terry.


Actually that is a hug. You, on the other hand, I would kiss.

Leonard Jansen
November 29th, 2006, 02:02 PM
Actually that is a hug. You, on the other hand, I would kiss.

A doctor kissing a lawyer? I'd like to see that.

-LBJ

The Fortress
November 29th, 2006, 03:31 PM
A doctor kissing a lawyer? I'd like to see that.-LBJ

I have doctors in my family, so ...:smooch: :smooch: :smooch: :smooch: to Gull.

aquageek
November 29th, 2006, 03:34 PM
I have doctors in my family, so ....:hug: :hug: :hug: :hug: to Gull.

I smashed a doctor like a guitar last January but a lawyer I swim with pummels me like a child daily.

KaizenSwimmer
November 29th, 2006, 07:39 PM
Apparently we agree .:hug:
Agreement makes life better. All is sweetness and light.

SolarEnergy
November 29th, 2006, 07:45 PM
...to ice regularly you should "STOP" doing the activity altogether. ... Is this really true? What's true is that if something hurts you to the point that you need ice on a regular basis, then you need to "STOP" repeating the suspisious movement.

Doesn't matter if it's a technical flaw or just a simple characteristic of your stroke, that needs to "STOP" really fast.

Orelse, you're just training a chronical injury. And like anything else, the more you train them, the better they become at making your life hard.

Funny because after all those years, I feel "disconnected" enough to issue a confession. I have never ever prescribed ice to injured athetes. Not that I was against it, I just didn't use it myself and have never developed the reflex of prescribing it.

KaizenSwimmer
November 29th, 2006, 07:46 PM
Terry said (not quoting exactly now) that a PT told him that if you had to ice regularly you should "STOP" doing the activity altogether. I know some swimmers who love swimming and are in the hot tub icing regularly. They would quite sad to STOP.

Is this really true?

That conversation took place about 8 years ago at the Olympic Training Center in Colo Spgs at a meeting of athletic trainers and PTs convened by USA Swimming. We were talking about the shocking prevalence of ice therapy among teenagers and college age swimmers. And the suggestion was not to stop swimming, but to cease doing the kind of swimming that was proving so stressful to shoulders.
And I should have made it more clear all along that the incidence of injury that I find so alarming is among younger swimmers, not the general soreness that I am well aware is part and parcel of being a middle-aged athlete.
Having said that I've seen plenty of examples of unnecessary injury among Masters as well - the three swimmers Dave Barra mentioned being cases in point.

KaizenSwimmer
November 29th, 2006, 07:47 PM
A doctor kissing a lawyer?

Gull, you're a doctor? What kind?

The Fortress
November 29th, 2006, 07:50 PM
And I should have made it more clear all along that the incidence of injury that I find so alarming is among younger swimmers, not the general soreness that I am well aware is part and parcel of being a middle-aged athlete.

Well, I'm glad that middle-aged "dessication" explains something. You could have told us that little fact a few posts ago and we could have been kissing earlier.

I'm distressed though that you see a trend in younger swimmers. I thought they were not doing tons of mindless yardage and that they focus on technique much more than we used to before we became sore middle-agers.

The Fortress
November 29th, 2006, 07:52 PM
Gull, you're a doctor? What kind?

I believe Gull is the kind of doc we want if we are having a heart attack in the pool from overtraining. He is not the orthopod type. If he was, he'd get even more :smooch: on this forum.

gull
November 30th, 2006, 05:37 AM
Gull, you're a doctor? What kind?

Sprinter Girl is right--I'm a Cardiologist.

The Fortress
November 30th, 2006, 08:52 AM
Sleep on one side, face on back of hand and elbow pointed at bed headboard
=vs=
Sleep on one side, lying atop arm
=vs=
Sleep flat on back

Any studies done on the effects of sleep posture ?


NK French:

I love your avatar too! I also want to know which of your 4 sets of fins are your favorite shoulder savers.;)

I looked on the internet yesterday on the sleep position issue because I have been curious about that as well. I didn't really see any studies, just anecdotal evidence and advice from PTs or docs. They said:

Don't sleep on your stomach. It twists the neck, which sends pain elsewhere.
Don't lean on your shoulders or sleep on your side.
Don't sleep with your elbow wrapped round your pillow.
Don't sleep with your elbow higher than your shoulder.

I think that leaves us sleeping on our back with our hands at our side.

nkfrench
November 30th, 2006, 02:08 PM
In the future ... late night TV infomercials will feature "Swimmer-Pedic" mattresses for us ... the kiosks at Nationals will include mattresses along with the swimsuits and T-shirts ... :)

My favorite fins are the big black rubber $20 ones but Coach is making me get the short fins (Hydros) for a "more natural" stroke. Not sure I want a more natural stroke - I want to go faster and just wiggle my feet :)

SwimStud
November 30th, 2006, 02:24 PM
NK French:

I love your avatar too! I also want to know which of your 4 sets of fins are your favorite shoulder savers.;)

I looked on the internet yesterday on the sleep position issue because I have been curious about that as well. I didn't really see any studies, just anecdotal evidence and advice from PTs or docs. They said:

Don't sleep on your stomach. It twists the neck, which sends pain elsewhere.
Don't lean on your shoulders or sleep on your side.
Don't sleep with your elbow wrapped round your pillow.
Don't sleep with your elbow higher than your shoulder.

I think that leaves us sleeping on our back with our hands at our side.

Never sleep with your fins on...they get tangled in the duvet :rofl:
Sorry couldn't resist.

OK I don't know about shoulders but I have 3 herniated disc which can be a lot of fun to deal with. On back with a supported neck, lumbar region and possibly support under the knees is a great stress free and relaxed position...it it tough once you are alseep however, to determine what position you will wake up in...

SwimStud
November 30th, 2006, 03:42 PM
Richjb: How can you sleep with that thing under your neck?

Donna just try it.

Step 1: Roll a sweartshirt under your neck, and forgo the pillow, put another under your back and the pillow under your knees.

Step 2: Get "Mr. Fortress" to wash dishes, deal with any kids, cats or dogs on the scene. Then have him massage your feet with lavender oil while he listens to you tell him about your day....

I guarantee a good night's sleep...:p

poolraat
November 30th, 2006, 04:16 PM
Don't sleep on your stomach. It twists the neck, which sends pain elsewhere.
Don't lean on your shoulders or sleep on your side.
Don't sleep with your elbow wrapped round your pillow.
Don't sleep with your elbow higher than your shoulder.

Now I know why my shoulder aches in the morning!!
It's not the swimming!

Caped Crusader
November 30th, 2006, 05:41 PM
Well, I'm glad that middle-aged "dessication" explains something. You could have told us that little fact a few posts ago and we could have been kissing earlier.

I'm distressed though that you see a trend in younger swimmers. I thought they were not doing tons of mindless yardage and that they focus on technique much more than we used to before we became sore middle-agers.

I'l be purchasing my Swimmer-Pedic bed soon, I'm sure, but in the interim, I'd sure like an answer to the above question. I would rather not be taking my kids to PTs all the time.

SwimStud
November 30th, 2006, 06:49 PM
Hey Rich, are you calling me Donna? Or was that supposed to be "dunno?" Donna is IslandSox, you know, the distance girl, not the sprinter girl. Mr. Fortress is busy travelling the country. I'll get my weekday boyfriend to use the massage oil.

Batman: I'd like an answer to that question too.

:eek: Guess I have Donna on my mind...and now my secret crush is out...:D

Hey you changed your answers..I saw that!

islandsox
November 30th, 2006, 07:01 PM
Oh, Rich, :smooch:, I am swooning and blushing.

Donna

SwimStud
November 30th, 2006, 07:39 PM
LOL

...ouch my shoulder hurts!!

hehe:rofl:

Caped Crusader
November 30th, 2006, 08:29 PM
Dude, what happened, did you fall off your chair? Maybe Donna will :smooch: it.

SwimStud
November 30th, 2006, 09:34 PM
Dude, what happened, did you fall off your chair? Maybe Donna will :smooch: it.

:banana:

LOL

Peter Cruise
December 1st, 2006, 02:29 AM
Get me a bucket of water to throw on these two...

SwimStud
December 1st, 2006, 09:25 AM
Get me a bucket of water to throw on these two...

Make my day....I can swim... well except crawl :thhbbb: ;) hehe

Caped Crusader
December 1st, 2006, 09:33 AM
Make my day....I can swim... well except crawl :thhbbb: ;) hehe

Rich:

I hope you're not sitting at your desk when that bucket of water hits you.:rofl: Or you'll really be adding yourself to the shoulder injury support group.


All:

Aside from all the recent J/K-ing on this thread, I'd still like to know why there is a "shoulder epidemic" among younger swimmers when they're supposed to be more cognizant of technique and not just bashing away at the water. Are their sore middle age parents setting a bad example? I would pay top dollar for Terry or anyone else including that brainiac Lindsay to come back and answer that question and provide any solution. Terry's age groupers are apparently trouble-free, but I see other USS teams focusing on technique a goodly amount. If so, why the "epidemic?"

KaizenSwimmer
December 1st, 2006, 09:30 PM
I see other USS teams focusing on technique a goodly amount. If so, why the "epidemic?"

The high prevalence of shoulder trouble is not among young age groupers, but occurs when they are promoted to the "senior" ranks and continues into college.
Heavy use of paddles, particularly large paddles, combined with some water bashing on freestyle, increased volume on top of that, etc are the typical ingredients.

As Leslie supposed, indeed I'm in Coral Springs FL til the 11th. I'm swimming a scm meet this weekend, then leading a camp til the 8th and working on some video production. No doubt lots of butterfrogging.

The Fortress
December 1st, 2006, 09:42 PM
The high prevalence of shoulder trouble occurs when .... increased volume on top of that, etc are the typical ingredients.

Did you just admit to this? I'm in stitches, really. :rofl: Good luck butterfrogging. I hope your 400 IM improves!

The Fortress
December 4th, 2006, 04:05 PM
I just ordered the Buchberger 12 video for rotator cuff and scapular stabilizing exercises.

If anyone is interested, the site is www.rotatorcuff.net (http://www.rotatorcuff.net). There is a section on "shoulder impingment" with a lot of information, including on "degeneration."

On one of Coach T's cited sites, I saw the phrases overuse, rotator cuff fatigue, scapular dysfunction and shoulder laxity mentioned quite a bit.

poolraat
December 4th, 2006, 04:35 PM
I just ordered the Buchberger 12 video for rotator cuff and scapular stabilizing exercises.

Let us know what you think and if it helps.

Caped Crusader
December 4th, 2006, 09:51 PM
the broader swimming community ... critically wrongheaded ... verges on a mass delusion and sickness.

Wow, I missed this the first time I quickly scanned this thread. Isn't this the type of personal insult or lard bomb that's frowned upon on this forum?

islandsox
December 9th, 2006, 09:55 PM
I've been re-reading this thread and even though Terry originally stated it was due to technique, and has back-tracked now to swim aids, and possibly volume and other things, I am actually not confused now.

I believe the reason Terry has great success in his swimmers not having shoulder issues is not just because they try to perform perfect technique. They are not doing volume so the only culprit according to his observations has to be technique and specifically in those swimmers not doing TI and doing high-volume. His only measurement is, in fact, for technique. That's the only test he has numbers on.

And I am not a doctor, but I have been a swimmer. I truly believe my shoulder was due to volume, not technique, as I never used paddles because they didn't make them way back then. But I have used them while in masters, and even though I thought and felt they were benefitting me, I think the large ones put entirely too much torque on the shoulder(s), excuse me, my shoulder. Millions of rotations on a shoulder while a person is of young age and their bones and bodies are still developing, may inhibit the growth of the shoulder and surrounding tissues and may even make one pre-disposed to shoulder problems.

Donna

SwimStud
December 9th, 2006, 10:35 PM
Millions of rotations on a shoulder while a person is of young age and their bones and bodies are still developing, may inhibit the growth of the shoulder and surrounding tissues and may even make one pre-disposed to shoulder problems.

Donna

This makes sense to me. It is similar to the thought that kids shouldn't engage in excessive weights training either.

tomtopo
December 10th, 2006, 12:08 AM
Of course not and this article from Mat Luebbers swimming.about.com really does a good job at answering that question.

Causes of Swimmers Shoulder
From Mat Luebbers,
Your Guide to Swimming.
FREE Newsletter. Sign Up Now!
Swimmers Shoulder Causes

There are many possible reasons for SS to develop. SS injury and pain from impingement and other related issues seems to occur under one or more of the following circumstances (Anderson, Hall, & Martin, 2000; Bak & Fauno, 1997; Costill, Maglischo, & Richardson, 1992; Johnson, Gauvin, & Fredericson, 2003; Maglischo, 2003; Pollard & Croker, 1999; Tuffey, 2000; Otis & Goldingay, 2000; Weisenthal, 2001). SS is considered an impingement related injury that seems to develop through a mechanism related to overuse or instability (Anderson, Hall, & Martin, 2000; Bak & Fauno, 1997; Baum, 1994; Chang, 2002; Costill, Maglischo, & Richardson, 1992; Johnson, Gauvin, & Fredericson, 2003; Koehler & Thorson, 1996; Loosli & Quick, 1996; Maglischo, 2003; mayo Clinic, 2000; Newton, Jones, Kraemer, & Wardle, 2002; Pink & Jobe, 1996; Pollard, 2001; Pollard & Croker, 1999; Reuter & Wright, 1996; Richardson, Jobe, & Collins, 1980; Tuffey, 2000; Otis & Goldingay, 2000; Weisenthal, 2001):

* faulty stroke mechanics
* sudden increases in training loads or intensity
* repetitive micro traumas related to overuse
* training errors (such as unbalanced strength development)
* use of training devices like hand paddles
* higher levels of swimming experience
* high percentage of freestyle swum in practices
* weaknesses in the upper trapezius and serratus anterior
* weakness or tightness of the posterior cuff muscles (infraspinatus and teres minor) or a hyper mobile or very lax shoulder joint.

Swimmers perform a great number of overhead arm motions in the course of a normal practice week; Pink and Jobe (1996) estimate that some swimmers may complete as many as 16,000 shoulder revolutions in a one week period, while Johnson, Gauvin, and Fredericson (2003) estimate this number could be as high as 1 million per year.
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To gain a sense of scale, Pink and Jobe (1996) compare swimmer's arm motions with 1,000 weekly shoulder revolutions for a professional tennis player or a baseball pitcher (Pink & Jobe, 1996).

Given the swimmer's quantity of movements and the range of those movements, micro traumas are inevitable, and damage from repeated micro traumas can develop into SS (Bak & Fauno, 1997; Chang, 2002; Costill, Maglischo, & Richardson, 1992; Johnson, Gauvin, & Fredericson, 2003; Pink & Jobe, 1996; Pollard & Croker, 1999; Otis & Goldingay, 2000). It appears that there are three main syndromes behind SS (Pollard & Crocker, 1999; Weisenthal, 2000):

* instability
* impingement
* tendonitis

Tuffey (2000) lists the triad of problems involved with SS as:

* biceps tendonitis
* subacromial bursitis
* rotator cuff tendonitis usually in the supraspinatus muscle.

Richardson, Jobe, and Collins (1980) summarize SS as a chronic irritation involving the humeral head and rotator cuff interacting with the coracoacromial arch during shoulder abduction resulting in an impingement, as do Otis and Goldingay (2000).


I think there are a lot of proactive things a swimmer can do to greatly reduce if not eliminate the chances of shoulder problems. One thing that a swimmer can do is to isolate the shoulder cuff and strengthen it by performing static and isometric exercises. These exercises specifically address the area that they train and it doesn't take a lot of time. The benefits are great and the time is minimal compared to other training regimes. I do believe even swimmers unfortunate enough to have a weak or a hyperflexible shoulder cuff and accompanying muscles, can greatly reduce their chances of swimmer's shoulder.

Here's another great article on the subject.

Shoulder Injury in Competitive Swimmers

By Larry Weisenthal
Huntington Beach, CA
Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine
University of California
Irvine School of Medicine, Medical Director

The following is an e-mail from a swim coach in Australia. His question and my answer may be of interest to coaches working with talented teenage swimmers with shoulder pain.

At present I have a 14-year-old girl who is starting to develop shoulder pain. Unfortunately she is, perhaps, the most talented of all my swimmers. I think she has the potential to be quite a good distance swimmer. Her freestyle pull is near textbook perfect. She maintains the highest elbow at catch and pull through of any swimmer I have seen (this may actually be exacerbating the problem). I may be panicking too early, however, having gone through my own shoulder problems as well as sharing the heartache and frustration another swimmer felt through her injury/recovery; I want to be sure Jenna is looked after early. The pain has come and gone before. There does seem to be some correlation with yardage increases and pain. The last few weeks we have been covering a little more fly as well which in the past has led to her shoulder pain flaring up.

Below is a summary of when and where she feels pain:

- Right shoulder only (she does breathe to both sides, however she definitely favors the left side)

- Freestyle – pain at catch and at end of pull through

- Fly – pain during recovery

- Back – not too bad, however sometimes pain at end of recovery and start of pull

- Breast – pain at start of pull through (not too bad though)

- Sometimes upon picking a heavy object up or by pushing herself up off the ground she feels like she is ‘pulling freestyle’ i.e. the pain?

The pain is a dull ache and lasts all day. It is not sore to touch. Physios suggested to her that there was weakness in stabilizers of scapula. She does have quite hunched over posture. She is a slender girl. Basically just from looking at her I get the feeling she is a prime candidate for shoulder probs. Her mother is a local MD. She is keen to read some literature on this.

Any advice or help would be greatly appreciated.

My answer:

Short version of the shoulder story (I’ll go into more detail later on):

90% of these problems are from impingement. The symptoms you describe are consistent with this. This can be reduced by some simple stroke modifications.

Two causes (besides technique).

1. Bad bone anatomy. Big or down-sloping or spurred acromion (bone you feel when you clap yourself on the shoulder) or else thickened coracoacromial ligament (runs from the lateral tip of the acromion to a little boney knob in the front of the scapula to which the short head biceps tendon attaches). Diagnose this with an MRI (14-year-old girls can have poorly ossified acromial head which can be difficult to see on a plain x-ray).

2. Lax/hypermobile joint. Humerus held up against scapula by ligaments called the joint capsule. Most good swimmers are very flexible (because their joint capsules are loose). Have her hold her arm straight ahead while standing up… elbow down, palm up. Look at the angle between the (upper) arm and forearm. Is it 180 degrees? Then she’s probably not hypermobile. If it is >180 degrees? Then she very well may be hypermobile. Problem with hypermobility is that the head of the humerus can migrate upwards, smashing the superior rotator cuff (supraspinatus) tendon against the "roof" of the shoulder (acromion and coracoacromial ligament). This is worse during the stroke… usually worst right at the very start of catch and pull through. This is because when downward/rearward pressure is applied, the head of the humerus is forced upward.

Oftentimes, swimmers have both problem #1 and problem #2.

Tests for #1 type impingement (in addition to MRI to define anatomy):

Neer Test:
Raise arm overhead, pointing straight up. Rotate hand so palm is outward. Dr/Coach then presses against palm, forcing hand over the top of the head. Does this hurt? If so, it is a positive test. Note that this is a position commonly advocated for swimmers. Swimmer on the side, hand reached straight forward, palm down. Is there any wonder that swimming causes shoulder problems when some swimmers are taught to swim by performing a Neer test on themselves with each stroke?

Hawkins Test:
Arms at side. Lift elbow up to the side, so that (upper) arm is at shoulder level, parallel to ground, fingertips pointing straight down. Now, rotate thumb backwards, while securing wrist to keep fingers pointing straight down, while examiner forcefully pushes shoulder forward. Pain? Positive test. Note that this position can be achieved also during the swimming stroke, with certain types of high elbow recoveries. Or think a butterfly recovery, with elbows slightly bent and thumbs down and slightly more easy to clear the water this way. But about 35% of elite flyers do recover palms down, thumb leading, so it is not incompatible with fast fly swimming. While your kid is actually having pain (not just trying to prevent pain), she might even tilt her thumbs slightly upward during recovery, to completely avoid internal rotation. Internal rotation being bad because it rotates the vulnerable supraspinatus tendon right underneath the most narrow part of the acromion and coracoacromial ligament (where there is the least space and where the tendon gets squeezed the most).

In brief, what else to do?

Oh, one more thing. Rule out that the pain is being caused by epiphysitis. Have the kid’s mom tell you about something called Osgood-schlatter’s syndrome. This is a very common problem in 14-year-old land athletes (soccer, basketball, running). The lower patellar tendon attaches to the top of the tibia right over a growth plate (epiphysis). Traction of the tendon against the growth plate can hurt like heck. Cure is aging enough so that the growth plate closes. Same thing can happen in the shoulder, where the acromial epiphysis can get inflamed from repetitive motion. This is very easy to diagnose. Put two fingers on the top of the acromion, right near the ("drop off") end of the top of the shoulder bone (where you’d clap your mate on the shoulder in a pub watching your favorite ruggers, say, "The Bulldogs," while exclaiming "How ‘bout them dawgs!" immediately after a try). Anyway just press firmly on the top of the bone with two fingers and see if you can force her to the ground, not with pressure, but by eliciting pain. If this doesn’t happen (i.e. you can’t force her down with pain), then you have ruled out epiphystis as a cause. If you can force her down, write back and we’ll talk about what to do about it.

Presuming the problem is garden-variety impingement syndrome, here’s what to do.

1. Kicking lane until she is having no more pain. My daughter’s team had a 15 year-old girl with a nearly identical problem who kicked for about 12 weeks straight last winter, but, 10 weeks after resuming full stroke swimming, swam a 4:47 400 IM LCM. Will it take 4 or 8 or 12 weeks? I don’t know. But definitely do this; your swimmer is only 14 and a stitch in time saves nine.

2. Posterior rotator cuff strengthening (to strengthen active stabilizers… i.e. the rotator cuff itself… to keep the head of the humerus down where it belongs and not migrate upward. Particularly important if the "elbow bend test" diagnoses hypermobility.

3. Stroke modification. Rule number 1. Avoid/minimize internal rotation of the hand/forearm/(upper) arm complex. Internal rotation is counter-clockwise on right and clockwise on left. Rule number 2. See #1. Rule number 3. Don’t apply downward/backward forces at the catch until the forearm has descended well into the high elbow position. The problem with paddles is that there is a tendency to begin the pull much too early, as it takes longer for the hand to drop to the catch position while wearing a paddle. The problem with a too early pull is that the head of the humerus is forced upward. Rule number 4. Don’t have a big, strong push back to "finish the stroke." This produces a "wring-out" effect, crimping off the small arteriole which supplies blood to the supraspinatus tendon. Don’t worry. Your great Aussie-coaching colleague Carew teaches an early exit. Perkins doesn’t finish the stroke but swims with an early exit. So does Franzi Van Almsick, WR holder in the 200 free.

How to avoid internal rotation?

1. Something I call the "Birmingham feather" (after a brilliant young Aussie coach who taught it to my daughter). Think rowing. After the end of the stroke, what does a competitive rower do? He "feathers" the oar so that the flat blade is parallel to the surface of the water. This is what Coach Birmingham taught my daughter to do. She still does it. So does my other daughter. So do I. As long as we remember to do this, none of us have any shoulder pain at all. In the article by Yanai and Hay at the University of Iowa published last year, they found that the number one cause of impingement was delayed external rotation (Birmingham feathering) during recovery.

2. Don’t swim with a locked elbow forward reach unless you are Ian Thorpe and have a great kick. Van den Hoogenband never completely straightens his left elbow, and he’s the fastest freestyle swimmer (100/200) in history. A female distance swimmer shouldn’t ever swim with a locked elbow stroke unless she is Astrid Strauss on steroids with an unbelievable kick racing Janet Evans in the ’88 Olympics. Otherwise, swim like Brooke Bennett or Diana Munz,. Shorter stroke; faster turnover; no Neer test, no internal rotation during recovery and entry. Early exit to avoid supraspinatus arty wring out. Locked elbow stroke only makes sense in the context of a great kick (e.g. US distance ace Erik Vendt). Otherwise, in a weak kicker (e.g. most female distance swimmers or swimmers such as Claudia Poll and Lindsay Benko), the more rapid turnover is needed to conserve momentum, which is rapidly lost with locked elbow orthopedic Neer impingement test and will be more likely to produce shoulder (rotator cuff) injury.

3. Basically, you want to have thumb ahead of pinky during recovery and entry. At the moment of catch and pull, it’s probably more efficient to have some internal rotation, but 80% of all impingement occurs at recovery and entry, and only 20% during pull through. However, if the swimmer is still having pain, then even keeping the thumb slightly forward (toward the direction that the swimmer is moving in or toward the approaching wall) of the pinky during pull through will eliminate internal rotation at all times, and minimize impingement as well. To allow for an effective angle of attack, the entry should be a little wider than usual, so that the initial part of the pinky during pull through will eliminate internal rotation at all times, and minimize impingement as well. To allow for an effective angle of attack, the entry should be a little wider than usual, so that the initial part of the pull resembles the initial part of the butterfly pull (where the hand typically enters wider than in freestyle and the start of the pull is an inward diagonal).

4. Fly is recovering with palms down, thumbs forward.

5. Back is thumb out, pinky in… but when do you rotate the wrist? Many backstrokers rotate immediately, to lead with the pinky as the hand moves out of the water and over the head. This is internal rotation (bad). You want to keep the thumb forward, pointing to the direction of travel until just before entry, when you feather the hand to enter pinky first.

6. Breast… your swimmer is getting pain I presume at the time she rotates her thumbs inward to begin the (high elbow) pull. Internal rotation again. Hard to describe how to modify this without seeing her swim in person. Maybe just a slight reduction in internal rotation (i.e. thumbs not so much inward) is all it will take to give her some relief.

Generally, avoid internal rotation wherever possible (e.g. if doing a hard lead kicking drill on the side, keep the palm of the hand up, rather than down). While reaching for the wall, do so with thumb up. While raising her hand in class, do so with palm back, thumb outward, etc.

PS – You say that she favors left-sided breathing.

Is she right handed? Right handers should never develop dominant left-sided breathing. Never, never, never. This is one of the cardinal sins in freestyle swimming.

All swimmers are asymmetric. Even elite swimmers. This was documented at the International Canter for Aquatics Research Center in Colorado Springs. Described in Maglischo’s book, Swimming Even Faster. Put any swimmer in the middle of the ocean without visual clues and he will swim in circles. Just like everyone would row in circles. So you want to strengthen the left sided pull (if you are right handed). Otherwise, you are creating a lot of drag as you constantly re-aim to stay on the black line and not veer against the lane line.

This is what van den Hoogenband’s "loping" stroke achieves. But everyone "lopes" a bit just by breathing. You end up getting more body side forces assisting the pull of the non-breathing side arm, as the body rotates back from breathing. Thus, a left sided/right handed breather is accentuating the right/left strength asymmetry, rather than reducing it.

The bonus is that there is often less impingement on the breathing side. Easier to maintain external rotation during recovery and entry and avoid internal rotation.

If your swimmer is right handed, she should be a primary right side breather. This will even out force vectors between right and left and should reduce impingement to her right (sore) side in the bargain. l

The Fortress
December 10th, 2006, 12:23 AM
Coach T:

I am going to re-read your post more carefully tomorrow morning before heading to a swim meet cuz it's late. But I just wanted to tell you that you made my night! Thank you for laying it all out! :bow:

dorothyrde
December 10th, 2006, 07:43 AM
I am right handed and favor left side breathing. Interesting. Plus, my elbow joints are definately hyper mobile and so are my daughters. Another term they call us is double jointed, which really is wrong.

islandsox
December 10th, 2006, 09:11 AM
Coach T,

I can't thank you enough for providing so much detail and valid stats on this topic. I always thought that most people rushed to the conclusion it had to be technique, and I knew this was not true; at least not as often as people had said. We all know that poor technique can do a swimmer in, and poor technique with volume yardage may most certainly do a swimmer in, but for those of us who do have textbook strokes and these strokes have served us well, yardage volume and/or body design have to be the main focus as to the reason.

My orthopedic surgeon who performed both of my shoulder surgeries told me from the damage done to my shoulder, it was just too much rotation over a long period of time. He actually created more space in the shoulder so in the future I would have more room to make more rotation without further injury. And now that I think of it, I want to drop his name here because without him, I would not be swimming today. His name is Duc Nguyen from Redwood City, California and he was, for a long time, the orthopedic surgeon for the San Francisco 49ers.

He also did my knee replacement and repaired two broken wrists and arms all done in one terrible fall. And when he did these, he was cutting-edge technology. My downtime was actually minimal compared to others with the same kinds of injuries. Not pertinent to this thread, I just wanted to let people know that may live in the Redwood City, CA area that he may be the fellow for you to see if, god forbid, you have to.

Donna

SwimStud
December 10th, 2006, 10:07 AM
6. Breast… your swimmer is getting pain I presume at the time she rotates her thumbs inward to begin the (high elbow) pull. Internal rotation again. Hard to describe how to modify this without seeing her swim in person. Maybe just a slight reduction in internal rotation (i.e. thumbs not so much inward) is all it will take to give her some relief.

Generally, avoid internal rotation wherever possible (e.g. if doing a hard lead kicking drill on the side, keep the palm of the hand up, rather than down). While reaching for the wall, do so with thumb up. While raising her hand in class, do so with palm back, thumb outward, etc.



This may get me burned at the stake but I was trained as a kid, and still do this:
On my glide in breaststroke I shoot my hands out palms up, pinkies together, thumbs held neutral...then turn the hands to "prayer" just as I break for the pull.


Rich

Leonard Jansen
December 10th, 2006, 10:49 AM
I believe the reason Terry has great success in his swimmers not having shoulder issues is not just because they try to perform perfect technique. They are not doing volume so the only culprit according to his observations has to be technique and specifically in those swimmers not doing TI and doing high-volume.

Perhaps that is too broad a brush with which to paint. I use TI and over the last 3 years have done as much as 55,000 yards/week at times in preparation for MIMS. No shoulder problems, although I have had some elbow tendonitis from using my arm as a shock absorber when doing open turns (obviously not TI-related). When I first learned to swim (age 39; non-TI) ,I did have shoulder problems and had several bouts of physiotherapy for same. I'm not saying that this disproves your assertion; nor am I saying that it proves that TI prevents shoulder injuries, but there are people who do TI and volume. (Including some people who have done the English Channel, etc.)

-LBJ

islandsox
December 10th, 2006, 02:19 PM
Leonard,

It may be a too broad a brush. I have just been carefully reading everything Terry wrote and some other people's comments on TI technique with lower volume, so it seemed to be an obvious conclusion, but it is a "general" one. And you are a fine example of high-volume/TI and faring really well. That's a pile of yardage, Dude!!

I just want everyone who swims to never have to experience shoulder problems, and this thread is providing a multitude of thoughts on it, as well as conclusions with and without fact. And I think this is a good thing; makes us all stop and think about our technique and how much yardage may be too much, especially for those who are really, really intune with how they feel during and after practices. You know, kinda like that silent "red flag" that goes up when something isn't quite right.

Donna

The Fortress
December 11th, 2006, 12:16 AM
55,000 yards/week at times -LBJ

Leonard: You racoons are crazy. If you can do this, I'm sure you can do the sprint quadrathon. Quite sure. But how do you do this?! Do I recall you saying you had co-opted your wife to swim in the OW for vacation purposes? Does she ever see you if you are doing that kind of yardage?

Leonard Jansen
December 11th, 2006, 08:49 AM
Leonard: You racoons are crazy. If you can do this, I'm sure you can do the sprint quadrathon. Quite sure. But how do you do this?! Do I recall you saying you had co-opted your wife to swim in the OW for vacation purposes? Does she ever see you if you are doing that kind of yardage?

I suppose that the main point is that we have no kids, so other than work, our time is our own. I telecommute (I'm sitting here in my PJ's as I type this.) and am on total flex hours as well, so unless I have a project deadline, I can make work fit around swimming/wife. The only thing that occasionally interrupts that is a sick horse or stacking hay when it's delivered (we have a horse stabling business on the side), which takes precedence over everything. We also try to mesh things. e.g. I swim while she is giving riding lessons. The worst part has been having to train by myself except for maybe 8000 yards/week with the YMCA masters. I'm not doing MIMS this year, so I probably won't do as much yardage, although who knows - I DO enjoy swimming long workouts (a favorite is 12,000+ yards in 3 hours).

Raccoons are determined, or as Dave Barry once wrote about them (concerning being unable to keep food away from them when at camp): "If we ever get serious about the space program, all we need to do is convince raccoons that there is food on Jupiter. They'll find a way to get there."

-LBJ

SwimStud
December 11th, 2006, 08:57 AM
I telecommute (I'm sitting here in my PJ's as I type this.) and am on total flex hours as well, so unless I have a project deadline, I can make work fit around swimming/wife.

-LBJ

I think you need to open a Connecticut branch. :joker:

ENVIOUS

:D

islandsox
December 11th, 2006, 03:07 PM
I have a question. I know my shoulder problems are from zillions of yardage for about a decade, and then I took a break, and then I joined Masters and was doing 3-4000 yds 3xweek.

My question is this: why are shoulder injuries so much more prevalent now than from the 1950-60-70 era. I have spoken to many elite swimmers from that era, and they don't have shoulder problems and they are still swimming but now only 3xweek. And most all of us swam elevated in the water, and head was not low (freestyle) and same on backstroke. There was no sculling whatsoever and we swam EVF.

I just wonder why, and I wonder why now?

Donna

The Fortress
January 24th, 2007, 08:27 PM
As to the epidemic of shoulder problems among the young, I read the following in my daughter's recent issue of Splash magazine:

"Because it allows for such a wid array of movements, the shoulder is perhaps the most versatile joint in the human body. Unfortunately, that versatility also makes it the most unstable joint we have. Combine that instability with the pounding it takes in the pool, and it's no wonder shoulder problems can be common among young swimmers. Besides limiting your strength and speed, if left unaddressed, this painful cnodition could force you out of the water indefinitely.

According to physical therapist and strength coach Bill Hartman, swimmers shoulder is a mechnical pniching of the raotator cuff due to abnormal shoulder mechanics. It's typically caused by overuse and resultant fatigue that alters muscle recruitment around the scapula and shoulder. This changes stroke mechanics and creates repetitive trauma to the cuff."

I spoke with an orthopedist and ART guy at some length today. There is a big difference between shoulder issue in kids and adults. Partly because they're growing and we're growing dessicated. Apparently, adults respond fairly well to cortisone. Both need to do prehab and rehab. I don't think kids do enough prehab.

SwimStud
January 24th, 2007, 08:31 PM
As to the epidemic of shoulder problems among the young, I read the following in my daughter's recent issue of Splash magazine:

"Because it allows for such a wid array of movements, the shoulder is perhaps the most versatile joint in the human body. Unfortunately, that versatility also makes it the most unstable joint we have. Combine that instability with the pounding it takes in the pool, and it's no wonder shoulder problems can be common among young swimmers. Besides limiting your strength and speed, if left unaddressed, this painful cnodition could force you out of the water indefinitely.

According to physical therapist and strength coach Bill Hartman, swimmers shoulder is a mechnical pniching of the raotator cuff due to abnormal shoulder mechanics. It's typically caused by overuse and resultant fatigue that alters muscle recruitment around the scapula and shoulder. This changes stroke mechanics and creates repetitive trauma to the cuff."

I feel tension pain in my scapula area and a little in my anterior deltoid...intersting...maybe a little of everything going on there.

SwimStud
May 10th, 2007, 09:58 AM
I figured out that I'm lifting my head slightly so now am focusing on rolling and it seems to work better.

SO yes sloppy form is a big factor but not exclusively.

Betsy
May 10th, 2007, 10:27 AM
I complete physical therapy tomorrow. My problem was diagnosed as bursitis, and the inflammation was causing some impingement. Since I have been working hard in the weight room, I was sure the problem was from lifting. My Physical Therapist believes the problem was not what I did, but what I didn't do. About 8 years ago, I was told my rotator cuff was not as strong as it should be for a swimmer. For awhile, I was diligent about using sugical tubing for internal and external rotator exercises. Lately, I have not been consistent. My shoulder was unstable and the movement irritated the bursa. 4 or 5 weeks of PT have strengthened the rotator cuff. I was making progress with heavy doses of Motrin, but since I am going to Federal Way, the doctor and and I decided to try a coritsone shot. I believe the inflammation would have eventually gone away with the Motrin, but the cortisone acted more quickly. The combination of reducing the inflammation and strengthening the rotator cuff has solved the problem. Everyday I repeat "I will do my shoulder exercises regularly. I will do my shoulder exercises regularly..."
Some people feel the cortisone was a mistake, but I'm 65 and it's not like I'll do that again anytime soon. The doctor assured me that it was safe. I look forward to a good meet at Federal Way, although I lost some time with conditioning.

SwimStud
May 10th, 2007, 10:29 AM
I complete physical therapy tomorrow. My problem was diagnosed as bursitis, and the inflammation was causing some impingement. Since I have been working hard in the weight room, I was sure the problem was from lifting. My Physical Therapist believes the problem was not what I did, but what I didn't do. About 8 years ago, I was told my rotator cuff was not as strong as it should be for a swimmer. For awhile, I was diligent about using sugical tubing for internal and external rotator exercises. Lately, I have not been consistent. My shoulder was unstable and the movement irritated the bursa. 4 or 5 weeks of PT have strengthened the rotator cuff. I was making progress with heavy doses of Motrin, but since I am going to Federal Way, the doctor and and I decided to try a coritsone shot. I believe the inflammation would have eventually gone away with the Motrin, but the cortisone acted more quickly. The combination of reducing the inflammation and strengthening the rotator cuff has solved the problem. Everyday I repeat "I will do my shoulder exercises regularly. I will do my shoulder exercises regularly..."
Some people feel the cortisone was a mistake, but I'm 65 and it's not like I'll do that again anytime soon. The doctor assured me that it was safe. I look forward to a good meet at Federal Way, although I lost some time with conditioning.

Hey Betsy. I am struggling with that too. If I back way off of swimming will the issue cease and then let me build up the RC. Just curiious if you know from your troubles.

swimr4life
May 10th, 2007, 10:39 AM
Everyday I repeat "I will do my shoulder exercises regularly. I will do my shoulder exercises regularly..."

ME TOO! My pt told me I would have to do rc exercises for the rest of my life. I didn't beleive her. MISTAKE! It is so true. Whenever I don't do them I get pain and inflammation, etc. I'll start doing them again and usually with time the pain goes away. Around November my shoulder/neck got so bad that I had to just STOP swimmng for 3 months! I kept trying to swim through the pain and ended up really messing myself up. Rich, I think it is better to back off and concentrate on your rc exercises before it gets so bad you have to stop! As long as my rc is strong, I'm almost pain free. YIPPEE! :bouncing:

The Fortress
May 10th, 2007, 10:44 AM
ME TOO! My pt told me I would have to do rc exercises for the rest of my life. I didn't beleive her. MISTAKE! It is so true. Whenever I don't do them I get pain and inflammation, etc. I'll start doing them again and usually with time the pain goes away. Around November my shoulder/neck got so bad that I had to just STOP swimmng for 3 months! I kept trying to swim through the pain and ended up really messing myself up. Rich, I think it is better to back off and concentrate on your rc exercises before it gets so bad you have to stop! As long as my rc is strong, I'm almost pain free. YIPPEE! :bouncing:

Me too!!! I've been lazy about doing them since zones and have had a tummy virus and am now dragging from allergies. :violin: As a result, my labrum and scapular area hurt a bit. I'm going to lift weights today and do all my RC stuff at the gym. You gotta do 'em. Always.

SwimStud
May 10th, 2007, 10:46 AM
Me too!!! I've been lazy about doing them since zones and have had a tummy virus and am now dragging from allergies. :violin: As a result, my labrum and scapular area hurt a bit. I'm going to lift weights today and do all my RC stuff at the gym. You gotta do 'em. Always.

Yeah I do them and core stabilisers. Good news is working on the rolling/breathing has alleviated a lot of the issue. After a few RC reps my shoulder feels much better.

geochuck
May 10th, 2007, 10:58 AM
I don't have any problems, either I have the perfect stroke or don't swim enough anymore.

scyfreestyler
May 10th, 2007, 11:59 AM
I don't notice a whole lot of difference between when I am doing the RC exercises and when I do not. When I have stopped for a few weeks and come back, I can still complete the same number of sets/reps without any issues so I don't think that is really my issue. What does get to me though is overworking myself in the pool. A few weeks ago I trained quite hard for 4 days consecutively and by the 4th day I was really hurting. Since then I have gone back to my Monday, Wednesday, Friday routine and things are much better. Consistency seems to be key in the wellbeing of my shoulders.

Slowswim
May 10th, 2007, 12:48 PM
I've been doing my RC exercises (thanx Beth) and they are helping, but it was mentioned in another thread to practice freestyle with your arms at 10 and 2. It felt better immediately.

I know my arms don't cross centerline, but I am not very flexible. For me arms directly forward may be too much.

Whether it is poor form or not may be body type and age related.
I plan to keep on my RC exercises and work on my shoulder flexibility and add the 10-2 drill.

Betsy
May 10th, 2007, 08:42 PM
For several weeks during my rehab, I only swam breaststroke. I actually didn't swim very often. I went to Colonies Zones and swam breaststroke on 2 200 medley relays, 2 400 medley relays, and the individual 100 and 200 breast events. The worst part was trying to warm-up with only kicking and breaststroke.
My PT made me promise not to do free or back because that's when it hurt from the impingment. After she agreed, I started back cautiously.
I have to say my doctor actually listened to me about swimming and competing. Sometimes doctors don't listen to older women.

geochuck
June 9th, 2007, 06:38 PM
Just came accross this from our local physio http://www.myphysio.ca/education.php