Swimming is an incredibly physically demanding sport. Yet, it’s also a great way to cross-train and have as an active recovery day. It’s low-impact, which makes it ideal for people recovering from an injury. However, despite its low-impact, you’re still at risk of injuring yourself while swimming. Most people – competitive and recreational swimmers alike – are familiar with the common injuries. However, there are a few hidden swimming injuries that you should be aware of if you want to prevent them.
Most competitive swimmers, if not all, are aware of what’s called swimmer’s knee. However, many recreational swimmers might not have even realized that such a low-impact sport could cause knee pain. In fact, it seems so counter-intuitive simply for the reason that many people opt to swim when they have knee pain.
Indeed, because of it’s low-impact, swimming can offer a reprieve from knee pain and even help those recovering from knee injuries by keeping them in shape and strengthening them. However, certain strokes, particularly the breaststroke, are hard on the knees. This is why it’s also known as breaststroke knee and it’s caused by how the legs are kicked during the stroke. The way you kick your legs during a breaststroke subjects the knee to a motion that goes against its structural design and natural movement. Because of this, it stresses the inner ligament of the knee, called the medial collateral ligament (MCL). The more stress is put on this ligament without proper rest and recovery, the more likely you are to injury your knee or have knee pain.
Lower Back Pain
Again, it seems counter-intuitive that swimming would cause lower back pain and injuries. This is because it’s often recommended as an alternative form of exercise for those who suffer from lower back pain while walking or running. Even as odd as it may seem, lower back pain can be quite prevalent for recreational as well as competitive swimmers.
The number one cause of lower back injuries is incorrect technique. If you’re not engaging your core while swimming, your back may overarch to compensate. This puts more pressure and stress on your lower back. It’s most common in those swimmers who do the butterfly stroke or breaststroke without proper technique or taking adequate breaks. Having a strong core will prevent the sinking of the lower back and adding to the stress.
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Believe it or not but concussions can be quite prevalent among swimmers. The rate is certainly not as high as in contact sports. However, it’s still a risk due to running into other swimmers as well as hitting the concrete wall. Furthermore, it can also happen by slipping on the deck.
No strengthening exercises and proper technique can prevent an acute accident to the head during swimming. However, what can help prevent a concussion is always being aware of your surroundings. Knowing where other swimmers are located as well as having a good spatial awareness between you and the wall can prevent you from hitting your head.
Prevention Through Awareness Of Hidden Swimming Injuries
You can prevent injuries through strengthening, correct training, and proper technique, among other ways. However, you should never underestimate the role education and awareness of injuries has in preventing injuries. Many sports have injuries that are “hidden” or, at least, not well-known. Being fully aware of the dangers of your sport or exercise can help you prevent injuries. You can lower your risk of making a mistake and becoming injured or having to deal with pain.