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Swimming injuries?

  • Posted by a hidden member.Log in to view his profile
    QUOTE Jul 03, 2008 3:22 AM GMT
    I have realized a correlation between the amount that I swim and the degree of tenderness/pain felt in my wrists.

    Allow me to expand on that: I swim every day and I concentrate on my form and what it is that I do with my motions so I do not think that my technique is out of whack (at least not greatly) as far as my hands are concerned. I mostly swim the front crawl and I have no problems during laps - it is just out of the pool that I feel a tenderness/pain in my wrists.

    For example, if I happen to swim more during a particular week then I tend to feel greater tenderness in my wrists than I do on lighter weeks even though the tenderness persists throughout the light and hard weeks.

    Sometimes I cannot put any pressure on my hands by lifting myself off the ground, for example, because of the associated pain.

    So, my questions to you swimmers out there is:
    is this normal?
    Does anyone experience the same symptoms, because no one at my pool admits to anything of the sort?
    Could this be just wear-and-tear?

    I do not want to give the impression that this is alarmingly serious because there isn't any real pain, per se, nor does it affect my life either, expect occasionally. However, I am slightly paranoid.



  • Posted by a hidden member.Log in to view his profile
    QUOTE Jul 03, 2008 5:14 AM GMT
    The most common injuries prevalent in swimmers are actually wear and tear damage to the shoulders, specifically the rotator cuffs. I myself have never felt any pain from my wrists. However, if you're new to swimming it doesn't sound all that alarming that you've got pain in your wrists. Your hands are effectively what propels you forward in the water, and you do tend to use a lot of muscles all throughout the arms, including (and especially) the wrists. If your wrist muscles aren't particularly developed, you probably will feel some wrist pain. Wrist curls and other sorts of wrist exercises can help you develop those muscles. What'd I'd guess is most likely happening is the constant pressure put on your wrists. It's not that your wrists are inherently weak, simply that they're not used to the constant pressure being put upon them. As you become a better swimmer, this problem (with some work) SHOULD go away. Become concerned when after a while it does not.
  • swimr Posts: 18
    QUOTE Jul 03, 2008 1:59 PM GMT
    Hot Toddy is right, shoulders usually cause more problems for swimmers, and some swimmers have problems with their elbows from hyperextension. You're pretty young, but arthritis can cause pain after exercise, and you'd be less likely to feel it while exercising. Aspirin/motrin or post-ex icing might help. Have you tried mixing it up and doing more kick sets and other strokes to lesson the risk of an overuse injury? Or how about picking up a pair of Strokestar/Turtle paddles, or fist gloves, or just swim a few sets with closed fists to get your forearms to take more of a role in your propulsion and give your hands a break? Even if it doesn't work at eliminating your pain, it will improve your swimming form. If all else fails, you could always see a doc and get an opinion. Good luck!
  • Posted by a hidden member.Log in to view his profile
    QUOTE Jul 03, 2008 2:19 PM GMT
    Hmmm.... I've never experienced anything like this, but I've had hand pain as a result of jamming my fingers into the wall. I'm assuming that's not the problem.

    Are you relaxing your hands while you swim, or are you pretty rigid from the elbow down?

    Also, when you swim freestyle, are you putting your hand in the water pinky first at the top of your reach or thumb first. It's been my experience that if you put your hand in the water pinky first, it involves less wrist-work in the water to get forward propulsion.

    Just my 2 cents.

    -_Adam
  • Posted by a hidden member.Log in to view his profile
    QUOTE Jul 07, 2008 2:20 AM GMT
    Thanks for the great replies.

    FYI, I have had shoulder problems before, but not recently (thankfully) yet the wrists continue to be a mystery. Maybe, the wrist problem isn't simply related to swimming, but may be caused by other activities as well: I injured my wrists riding my bike countless times, and I also recently suffered a "tennis accident" wrist-wise.

    Still, I'll try wrist-specific exercises as HotToddy suggests and also go with Sahem's advice on hand-entry (this may really be my problem as I am rather rigid). And, thanks Swimr for scaring me with the arthritis talk. I'll definitely give the closed fists a go.

    PS Did HotToddy call me limp-wristed?
  • germanguy888 Posts: 206
    QUOTE Aug 03, 2008 10:10 AM GMT
    i was a competitive swimmer for 10 years and i did sometimes get wrist problems but they were attributed to other things normally. the only direct swimming injury i got was in my sholders. hope that helps
  • HotCoach Posts: 247
    QUOTE Aug 29, 2008 9:31 PM GMT
    I concur. Mostly shoulders. Did get bicep tendinitis in both shoulders, Impingement.
    But wrists? Never heard of injury there. Are you keeping them straight on entry. Or maybe you're just jerking off too much, if that's possible!

    Bob
  • Posted by a hidden member.Log in to view his profile
    QUOTE Oct 02, 2008 11:31 PM GMT
    Good news! My wrists don't hurt anymore (although, I have been doing less laps and I've implemented some of your advise), but now I'm experiencing "tenderness" in my shoulder again. Ugh, I can't win. So, if I feel something coming on, I swim less or not as hard in order to prevent the problem from getting worse.
    Of you guys who experience shoulder issues, what do you do?
  • boxerjockx Posts: 9
    QUOTE Oct 23, 2008 6:58 AM GMT
    I blew out my left shoulder in high school. Thankfully I haven't had much pain since. I would say ice it if the pain is intense, stretch and do warm ups and look into doing some free weights. Maybe do some yoga? Also if it's super bad go see a doc. Also I'm not sure how long you been swimming but if you can maybe find someone on the boards in your area who's been swimming for awhile. Maybe they can check out your form and work with you.
  • Posted by a hidden member.Log in to view his profile
    QUOTE Dec 18, 2009 1:04 PM GMT
    Hi,
    I've just developed this past week (realistically it has developed slowly over the last months or so) exactly what you describe here- but only in one wrist. It took me a while to find your description...it seems it is not so common. And, same here-- no one at the pool understands what I'm talking about.

    In my opinion it has nothing to do with being new to swimming- I've been swimming 3x week for over 20 years...master's teams, open water distances, etc.

    I think it has to do with not doing enough stretching/yoga. I knew I hadn't been doing quite enough over the last few months, but I continued to swim, paddle a surfski, go hiking over big boulders, do backward push-ups (in which all my weight is in the wrists.), and stretch a large canvas. I even felt my forearms getting a bit tight during a paddle about 2 months ago, and my hand started to hurt slightly when doing a pushup...I should've seen the signs coming.

    My plan is massage, stretching, a few days of ibuprofen, and only jogging for 2+ weeks- nothing using the wrists (except office work, cooking...unavoidable). (the internet also suggests icing... temporary wrist braces...if it persists after the rest period, I'll see a doctor before I try other things)

    It sounds like it's something we just have to manage. (I'll add it to the bad shoulder I already manage: with regular rotator cuff exercises, and being careful how I warm up in the water, and after any break from swimming.)

    My self diagnosis is that it isn't carpal tunnel, it isn't DeQuervain's Tenosynovits...though it could be those things slightly. It's probably mostly just tendonitis and/or a little early arthritis in the joint.....in my case age is probably involved(mid40s), as well as a near-fracture in the same wrist 3 years ago.

    Little of this information may help you...but just to let you know someone else has exactly the same symptoms.

    Oh- one last idea- a friend of mine swears by magnets for back pain, so I'm going to try some for the wrist...can't hurt.

    My plan is to be paddling/swimming well into old age, so I'm determined to find a way to manage this. I see yours is less of a problem now-- but I hate the idea of having to swim less.
  • Posted by a hidden member.Log in to view his profile
    QUOTE Dec 18, 2009 1:26 PM GMT
    i have damaged ankles from swimming. I know right, how the hell does that happen

    well......when I was little and learning how to do flip turns during practices, I would consistently smack my ankles on the edge of the pool for about 2 years straight.

    It hurts to run :/
  • Posted by a hidden member.Log in to view his profile
    QUOTE Mar 08, 2010 8:47 AM GMT
    you should try and keep your wrist as straight and locked as possible (with just a little downward tilt at the catch). I swim a lot and I have never had or heard of anyone having this problem, I think you should have a doctor look into it. As for the shoulder pain, make sure your elbow is high for you entire stroke so you are engaging you lats instead of using your shoulder cuffs. if your should hurts when your hand is in the air that means you have a rotator cuff injury, if it hurts anywhere else it could be more complicated.

    I would recommend getting some lessons. Technique is something that everyone needs to work on, especially if you are prone to injuries.
  • Posted by a hidden member.Log in to view his profile
    QUOTE May 04, 2010 2:55 PM GMT
    having wear and tear on wrist sounds like improper technique to me so i would look at that too

    swimming is known as the 'impact free' exercise unlike regular cardio like walking or jogging where you really do wear and tear your ligaments and impact your knees.

    but even for injured victims and for seniors, swimming is recommended as a body rehab, the only people who should be feeling the most pain are competitive athletes mainly due to training a lot but other wise i'd look closely at what your doing wrong.
  • swimbikerun Posts: 2835
    QUOTE May 04, 2010 3:10 PM GMT
    If you are experiencing pain then it is certainly your technique. Get some paddles:

    http://www.speedousa.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3839614&ab=031910_HP_Btmlnks_PopAcc_TrainingGear&cp=3124326.3128423.3132046


    Also you might want to do some strength training as well.
  • Posted by a hidden member.Log in to view his profile
    QUOTE May 04, 2010 3:20 PM GMT
    5537B00B saidOf you guys who experience shoulder issues, what do you do?

    I began to develop left shoulder spurs by age 30, a result of Army pushups, playing tennis, long-distance bicycling, and swimming. I declined surgery, instead easing up on activities that were contributing to the problem, taking ibuprofen as needed, and wearing a heating pad on my shoulder during bad bouts. I sometimes still have to wear the heating pad today.

    Heat has always helped me, rather than cold. After swimming I would spend time in a sauna, which I found could prevent joint pain, which I suffered in more places than just my left shoulder.

    You probably should see an orthopedic doctor. Some joint spurs, and other bone processes, can be better treated if handled early. You may even have early onset of arthritis, which I also experienced, common in my family. You need to confirm exactly what you have, so you know how to deal with it.

    Indeed, is this even joint related? I developed a ganglion cyst in the tendon of my right hand (also called a synovial cyst) at age 17 due to playing tennis a great deal. I had to abandon tennis (I was actually fairly competitive, winning trophies and considering going professional), and at times I could barely open a door with my right hand, even my motorcycling a problem, the pain so great. It persisted until I was 20, doctors unable to help me, and it was a concern for me when I enlisted in the Army, unsure how much it would limit me. But it continued to slowly improve on its own, and today is no problem.

    So is this a joint problem, or connective tissue, or what? I think a consultation with a doctor is appropriate to confirm what you have, and so you can address it before it possibly gets worse.
  • Posted by a hidden member.Log in to view his profile
    QUOTE May 04, 2010 3:52 PM GMT
    swimbikerun saidIf you are experiencing pain then it is certainly your technique. Get some paddles:

    http://www.speedousa.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3839614&ab=031910_HP_Btmlnks_PopAcc_TrainingGear&cp=3124326.3128423.3132046


    Also you might want to do some strength training as well.


    I agree with this...when I first read your post, I immediately thought that the stability hand paddles offer might do the trick. Being a competitive swimmer for most of my life, I've never heard of/experienced wrist pain...always the shoulder, and/or fingers/heels thanks to aggressive approaches to the wall
  • Kage Posts: 707
    QUOTE May 07, 2010 1:10 PM GMT
    I have only recently started to take my body a bit seriously and now want to tone and lose weight, the main reason for joining this site actually.
    I have been swimming 10 laps, 6 nights out of the week for the last two months.

    I have developed shoulder joint (rotator cuff???) pain in my right shoulder last night for the first time.
    I find that the pain is fine when doing breaststroke but almost unbearable when doing front crawl.
    Any advice?
  • Posted by a hidden member.Log in to view his profile
    QUOTE May 07, 2010 1:12 PM GMT
    Swimming fucks with your joints bad, I know a guy who will have to get replacements when he's like 30.

  • Anto Posts: 2035
    QUOTE May 16, 2010 12:19 PM GMT
    I think using paddles is a bad idea if the problem is from incorrect form because using paddles puts even more stress on the body because of the added resistance.
  • RSportsguy Posts: 1904
    QUOTE May 16, 2010 12:22 PM GMT
    Wow! I would have never thought that swimming was so tough on your body! I use to do some water resistance exercises at the gym a few years ago until they took the pool out!!
  • Anto Posts: 2035
    QUOTE May 16, 2010 12:25 PM GMT
    Progress saidSwimming fucks with your joints bad, I know a guy who will have to get replacements when he's like 30.


    That must be from bad form. A lot of aged people do swimming because of how easy it is on the joints and physical therapy
  • Posted by a hidden member.Log in to view his profile
    QUOTE May 16, 2010 12:51 PM GMT
    Anto said
    Progress saidSwimming fucks with your joints bad, I know a guy who will have to get replacements when he's like 30.


    That must be from bad form. A lot of aged people do swimming because of how easy it is on the joints and physical therapy

    Swimming is indeed low impact, it's been recommended for me by orthopedic specialists. In the past doctors have given me pool passes for therapy sessions or just for the open swim because of joint problems. (The first one when I was only 19 to use a college pool following a motorcycle accident, that I didn't realize was scheduled during men-only hours and nude. Kinda funny story I think I've related on RJ before. )

    Nevertheless, swimming can cause joint wear from the repetitive motion that occurs over a wide range, and force is still being applied to the joint even in water. The hydrotherapy that seniors get is typically very mild, often not actual swimming at all, but range of motion exercises at a slow pace while standing in the water. The water supports the body and provides some additional resistance, but it can be very similar to dry land exercises. And for some, the cooler water temperature helps to reduce swelling.