What Causes Swimmer’s Shoulder?
Swimmer’s shoulder is a wear-and-tear injury – it happens from repetitive use of the shoulder joint, which can cause swelling. The irritation causes tiny tears in the tissue, which can lead to inflammation and scar tissue. The damage can keep the joint from moving the way it should. It is more likely to occur in people who have jobs or other activities that require:
- Awkward positions
- Frequently reaching overhead
- Repeated motions
- Vibration or forceful exertion
How to Prevent Swimmer’s Shoulder
You do not have to be an athlete to develop swimmer’s shoulder or to follow these tips for preventing it:
- Rest your shoulder at the first sign of fatigue or overuse.
- Stretch and warm up before exercising or playing any sport.
- Try to avoid repetitive stress on your shoulder.
- Use proper body mechanics at work or while exercising.
- Vary your activity, if possible.
If you are a swimmer, proper stroke technique is essential for preventing re-injury.
How to Treat Swimmer’s Shoulder
In most cases, the pain and inflammation can be treated successfully with conservative treatment. Leaving it untreated can lead to a painful tendon rupture requiring surgery.
Rest and ice – Your first steps may be to rest the shoulder and apply an ice pack for 10-15 minutes several times a day. It might be frustrating to sit out or take it easy, but your shoulder cannot heal if you continue the activity that injured it.
Pain medication – Over-the-counter pain medications like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can reduce inflammation and pain while you heal.
Physical therapy – A physical therapist can teach you joint stabilization exercises, stretches, and strength training to help heal and strengthen your shoulder, and teach you how to prevent further injury. They might use treatment modalities like exercise, heat, ice, electrical stimulation, ultrasound, and taping.
Steroid injections – Steroid (cortisone) injections reduce inflammation and provide temporary pain relief while your shoulder heals.
Ergonomic adjustments – It may help to reduce the movements that cause pain. At home or work, that might mean repositioning items you would normally have to reach for.
Surgery – When conservative treatments do not work, surgical removal of bone spurs and inflamed tissue may be the next option. Most people recover with careful rehabilitation and do not require surgery.
Contact Us Today for Help
Swimmer’s shoulder does not just keep you sidelined from the activities you enjoy, it makes everyday tasks difficult and uncomfortable. A healthy shoulder has the most range of motion of any joint in your body. It is in nearly constant motion throughout the day, but we often do not notice how much work our shoulder does until we are in pain. An injured shoulder can affect your every waking moment and disrupt your sleep.
Call us today to schedule a consultation about your shoulder pain or fill out our online contact form. Our offices in Carmichael and Roseville would love to hear from you. Our goal is to keep you doing the things you love!