Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Shoulder FAQ


I am on my high-school swim team. I have been swimming competitively since I was eight years old. Last season, I started to get shoulder pain doing freestyle. The pain is the worst when my hand goes into the water. Is there any kind of stretching or exercise program I can do for this?


You may be describing a problem called shoulder impingement. Impingement of a tendon causes pain for swimmers at the point of hand entry into the water. In this position, the arm is rotated inward with the hand turned palm and thumb down. The supraspinatus tendon of the shoulder rotator cuff may be getting pushed up against a ligament that crosses the tendon just above it.

Before starting any kind of exercise program, it is important to find out exactly what is causing your symptoms. There are a variety of specific tests that can be done by an orthopedic doctor. Early identification of the problem can help prevent small problems from getting worse. Treatment may involve anti-inflammatory medication, physical therapy, or surgery.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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