Physiotherapy for Swimmers

Swimming is a sport delighted in by all ages with varying degrees of capacity. It is a physical activity that joins upper and lower strength exercises with cardiovascular training in a non-weight-bearing environment. Most swimming injuries are classed as abuse injuries and identify with defective biomechanics. 

Cause of Swimming Injuries:

  • The faulty mechanism for stroke.
  • Inadequate scope of movement of the neck or lower back. 
  • Poor breathing strategy.
  • Hyper adaptability of joints with preliminary muscular adjustment. 
  • Decreased rotator sleeve and scapular muscle strength.
  • Insufficient core strength. 
  • Decreased hip muscle strength. 
  • Overexertion. 
  • Rest periods are insufficient.

Common swimming injuries:

  • Swimmer’s shoulder
  • Swimmer’s knee
  • Back pain

Swimming injuries:

  • Inflammation and irritation in the shoulders. 
  • Rotator cuff tendonitis. 
  • Shoulder impingement disorder, which is a consequence of tension on the rotator sleeve muscles from part of the shoulder bone when the arm is lifted overhead. 
  • Tears in the ligament around the shoulder socket. 
  • Neck and lower back pain. 
  • Bicep tendonitis.


  • Postural disabilities of the shoulder girdle. 
  • Strength of scapular stabilisers rotator sleeve muscles, latissimus dorsi, and trapezius. 
  • Length of shoulder girdle muscles and soft tissues. 
  • AROM shoulder searching for excruciating arc, excessive laxity, altered scapulohumeral rhythm. 
  • PROM tests, including Sulcus sign, relocation test, and apprehension sign.

Steps to prevent swimming injuries:

  • Warm-up: 

Warming up the muscles, joints, and ligaments helps the body get ready to work out. Athletes who don’t start with a warm-up program have a higher risk of injury than those who do. 

  • Use proper technique

In any sport, the proper technique serves two essential purposes. The first is to make sure that they are working as efficiently as possible for the particular event. The second is keeping the athlete safe. Using the correct technique is key to swimming injury prevention.

  • Work out all muscle groups.

Don’t just train the muscles the athlete thinks they’ll use in the water. Each part of the body works together as a whole when they’re swimming.

  • Be aware of the surrounding.

The swimmers make sure they can see when they’re coming to a wall and that they know where other swimmers in the lane are. If they’re swimming in a lake or ocean with low visibility, take the time, and be extra careful of other swimmers and obstacles.

  • Don’t swim if one doesn’t feel healthy.

An athlete who isn’t in physically tip-top shape is a danger to themselves and others in the water.

Physiotherapy and Swimmers:

A Physiotherapist working with swimmers should know about the requests of the sport. A thorough restoration program ought to be founded to reinforce the rotator sleeve and scapular stabilisers, extending the chest musculature that might shorten, and altering the training module if necessary. A careful evaluation of the versatility of the spine, hips, pelvis, and arms is fundamental.

The treatment plan for swimmers:

  • Amendment of muscle imbalance, like tight hip flexors. 
  • Streamlining of pelvic and joint versatility both in a static and dynamic state. 
  • Rehearsing proper stroke method with the direction of a mentor to improve execution and shield from musculoskeletal injuries including those of the lower back; particularly significant in the breaststroke and butterfly styles with the best rate of LBP. 
  • Spinal adjustment exercises.
  • Avoiding abrupt increment in preparing volume and abuse of devices. 
  • Lumbar spine. 
  • Core adjustment. 
  • Lower back pain from hyperlordosis. 
  • Guidelines for lower back pain.

Our motto at Reach Physiotherapy is to ‘Help you Reach Your Goals’. With our team of specialist physiotherapists, massage therapist, pilates instructors and personal trainers along with additional choice allied health professionals, we integrate the latest technology and research to treat and educate you to eliminate the need for you to return.


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Hampton, L., Jackson, K., & Niekerk, W. V. (2020, December 21). Swimming overuse injuries. Retrieved April 03, 2021, from

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Swimming injuries – common conditions and prevention strategies. (2019, December 17). Retrieved April 03, 2021, from

Swimming injuries – what causes them? (n.d.). Retrieved April 03, 2021, from

* Contact Reach Physiotherapy for a list of references used for this blog content.