A swimmer in the pool after using Physicool’s knee replacement pain relief

Common swimming injuries and how to avoid them

It’s not just those who are pounding the pavements, training for their next marathon, or those eating up the miles on the bike that suffer from injuries. Obviously, running is a high-impact exercise, and sports that require running are also in this bracket too, while cycling is classed as low-impact, which swimming is classified as, similarly. But, even though swimming is a low-impact exercise, injuries can still occur if you are not careful in your approach to the sport.


A swimmer in the pool after using Physicool’s knee replacement pain relief

More often than not, over-demanding workouts, poor technique, or lack of recovery time are the leading causes of injuries, and we are going to look into the most-common injuries that occur in swimming, to help you avoid them.

Starting from the top of the body and working our way down, here are the injuries to look out for and the prevention methods you can adopt:


Neck Injuries

The human neck boasts high levels of mobility and as such clear precautions should be adhered to in order to escape those unwanted swimming-related neck injuries. The neck injuries people suffer from are most-frequently as a result of incorrect technique being adopted.

Different strokes:

When swimming the freestyle/front crawl, keeping the head in line with the spine and having the eyes looking straight down is the ideal form to stick by. Try not look to the front like you’re doing the breaststroke, or lifting the head as you take breaths. Furthermore, it is advisable to evade over-rotating your head as you take your breath. Instead, look to rotate your body more as this will reduce the need for your head to rotate overly in order to clear the water.

Moving on to the next stroke, in this case we can pair both butterfly and the breaststroke together. In both of these strokes, it is important to keep your head aligned with your spine throughout. When you come to take a breath in, position your head in more of a downward looking positon as opposed to looking front on. By doing this your head will remain in a neutral position, helping to eliminate a neck injury occurring.

Lastly, when performing the backstroke, look to increase swim distances gradually so that the anterior neck muscles are given a suitable period of time to adjust and adapt. Look to increase your sessions by 10% after every 4 weeks.

Swimmer’s Shoulder

Up there as the most commonly placed injury for those taking to the water, swimmer’s shoulder has a variety of reasons as to why it can affect people. It can be caused by bad technique, excessive or quickly increased workload, and can also be brought on from the use of swim paddles and/or pull buoys.

To avert an injury, you need to ensure you are swimming each stroke with the correct technique. Don’t be tempted to overdo it. Overtraining or swimming with lack of adequate recovery time means that the stabilising muscles of your shoulder don’t work correctly anymore potentially bringing about an injury. Don’t allow yourself to suddenly increase the amount or intensity of your swim workouts, no matter how much you enjoy your time in the water.

Swimmer’s Knee

Swimmer’s knee, otherwise known as breaststroke knee, is an injury that can arise through the stroke mechanics of performing the breaststroke kick. Essentially, when your legs extend, followed by them being brought back together as part of the propulsive phase of the kick, the knee goes through external rotation, a movement that it isn’t designed for, naturally. The medial collateral ligament – the inner ligament of the knee – then finds itself under irregular stress.

Here, we have some top pointers to help you avoid swimmer’s knee:

  • Don’t stick to just one swimming stroke.
  • Take rest periods during the year, at which point you exclude breaststroke altogether.
  • Carry out proper warm-ups and do stretching exercises before a swim session.
  • Work on strengthening exercises that will build your hamstrings and quadriceps.


Hopefully this will help you on the road to full health during your swimming sessions, but if an old injury rears its head, such as knee replacement pain, relief and shortened recovery time can be aided by using our professional products.

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