Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Common Swimming Injuries


Although the lack of impact in swimming makes it a perfect choice for avoiding lower-body injuries, the intense involvement of upper-body muscles makes overuse injuries a real possibility.

The most common swimming-related injury is swimmer's shoulder, shoulder pain usually caused by rotator cuff tendonitis. Many cases of swimmer's shoulder can be successfully treated through physical therapy. For competitive athletes, rotator cuff surgery may be recommended if shoulder pain continues after 6 months of guided rest and rehabilitation.

Swimming Safety and Injury Prevention

  • Learning proper technique goes a long way toward preventing injuries; if you're just starting out, schedule some sessions with a swimming coach.
  • Remember to warm up and stretch before every swim, giving particular attention to your shoulders.
  • A strength-training program can help build up the muscles around the shoulder and upper back; ask a physical therapist or personal trainer if you need help creating a routine.

To find out more about swimming injuries or to make an appointment with one of our sports medicine specialists, visit the Request an Appointment page or contact us.

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