7 Common Swimming Sports Injuries

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Injuries and Competitive Swimmers almost go hand-in-hand with the high-volume of training that one undergoes to stay or pull ahead of the rest of the field. In this article, we will take a quick look at some of the common swimming sports injuries one can expect and why they come about.

Shoulder and Upper Arm Swimming Injuries

Common swimming sports injuries

Starting from the top of swimming sports injuries, we have the shoulders and upper arms. Swimmers are known for their ‘god-like’ broad shoulders. However, it also gives them the most issues. In an ideal situation, the swimming stroke should provide the maximum amount of force to pull the swimmer through the water while maintain a “balanced” bio-mechanical stroke. An optimal bio-mechanial movement is where overall stress on the joints and soft-tissues are minimised. This is from a physiotherapist’s point of view.

One example of this is where the “ball” of the upper arm bone (humerus) is kept “centred” throughout the movement in the shoulder joint. It does not scrape against one-side of the joint. (read Scapular (Shoulder blade) Stability)

Two basic things can lead to a less than optimal swim stroke bio-mechanically speaking:

  • Flexibility
  • Strength.

In both cases, too much or too little causes imbalance. Common swimming sports injuries include:

  1. rotator cuff tendonitis/impingement,
  2. biceps tendonitis,
  3. rotator cuff tear, and
  4. labral tear.


The second most common area of injury is the spine, as a result of the amount of rotation stress placed upon it. Common spine injuries from swimming include

  1. Neck and Back Sprain/Strain,
  2. Spinal Spondylolysis, and
  3. Spinal Disc Derangement

Other Areas

There are other parts of the body that get injured. In the case of swimming however, parts such as the knee are not commonly injured as a direct result of swimming.  Areas like fingers and toes are more of a result of hitting them against the pool wall than from over-training.

What Should I Do If I Am Injured?

Treating and preventing these swimming sports injuries is best done with your physiotherapist working together with your swim coach. They can help to come up with a rehab and training plan. Here are some tips to improve your swimming performance.