How to avoid swimming injuries this summer…

Aug 4, 2021

Swimming is a great form of exercise, and on top of that it’s fun! Given that swimming has so many benefits to our bodies we believe it shouldn’t only be restricted to your holidays…

These benefits range from:

  1. Improving cardiovascular fitness
  2. Increasing endurance
  3. Building muscle strength
  4. Toning muscles
  5. Burning fat
  6. Positively impacting your mental health
  7. Promoting quality of sleep

However, despite all of these benefits, you may still find yourself asking if swimming is for you. Today, we’re going to talk you through the frequently asked questions surrounding swimming and the possible injuries you can incur if you swim incorrectly.

What if I have joint pain, can I still go swimming?

As you can see there are a vast number of benefits from swimming. In addition to these, swimming is a great option if you are having joint pain issues. This will allow you to strengthen the muscles around your joints without having to put stress on the joints. Once the muscles around your joints are stronger, this will reduce the pain you are experiencing. It is always advisable to see a Health Care Professional before taking up a new form of exercise. They are best placed with the knowledge and experience to guide you in how to get started safely to avoid injury.

Can I get injured swimming?

The benefits of swimming significantly outweigh the risk of injury. If approached in a sensible manner the risk of injury is lowered even more. However, you can get injured swimming and the common injuries our superb physiotherapist team see and treat successfully are:

  1. Swimmer’s shoulder – This generally presents with pain at the front of the shoulder or the top of your arm. The exact diagnosis of your injury would require the input of Health Care Professional and some of the common pathologies are:
  1. Rotator cuff injury
  2. Shoulder impingement
  3. Bicep tendon injury
  4. Bursitis
  5. Labral tears
  1. Swimmer’s knee – This generally presents with pain on the inner aspect of your knee and commonly associated with those that use breast stroke. There are several structures which can cause this pain, The exact diagnosis of your injury would require the input of Health Care Professional and some of the common pathologies are:
  1. Medial collateral ligaments tear
  2. Medial plica inflammation or fibrosis
  3. Pes anserine bursitis
  4. Patellofemoral overload
  1. Neck pain – This generally present with pain at the back of the neck, it can also refer pain to your shoulders. This is a result of poor biomechanics when swimming and/or in combination with weak neck muscles. There are numerous muscles required for neck extension and neck rotation, these are the structures that are overloaded due to lack of previous training and can cause a muscle tear or overload. Poor biomechanics can also over stress the ligaments and joints in the neck.

What can I do to avoid injury?

Optimising your swimming technique to avoid injury, implementing these tips can help you:

  1. Breath bilaterally: Try breathing every 3 strokes so you are breathing on alternating sides. This will ensure you are not overloading the muscles on one side of your neck more than the other.
  1. Maintain good form: This will allow you to avoid shoulder impingement issues, during front crawl ensure your chest is forward and your shoulders are retracted. Your hands should not come across your midline and should not be too wide. Your hand and arm should enter the water as an extension of your shoulder. As your hand enters the water it should be with a slightly flexed wrist and your third and fourth finger should break the water line first as opposed to your thumb, this will ensure a well aligned shoulder and avoid over internal rotation of your shoulder. Implement body rotation whilst swimming, so you should slightly rotate your body to your left as your left arm enters the water and vice versa.
  1. Kick using your legs: With a slight bend in your knees and pointed toes, kick using your legs by allowing the movement to originate from your hips.

To prevent injury there are some key exercises that our physiotherapists advocate, and they are:

  1. Resisted shoulder internal rotation
  2. Resisted shoulder external rotation
  3. Resisted shoulder extension with scapular retraction

One of our physiotherapists has put together a video of the exercises to ensure you get a clear understanding of how to execute them with correct form. CLICK HERE to see the exercises in action.

If you are a swimmer, that is a beginner, intermediate or even advanced level, and you want to avoid these conditions, or believe you may already be suffering with one, why not book a FREE 15-minute discovery visit? In this complimentary visit you will have a chance to speak to one of our experienced physiotherapists about your needs and/or condition and they will let you know if physio is right for you.

To book an appointment or a discovery visit, call us on: 0207 636 8845


Recovering from a full Achilles rupture. Started my work with Nina in feb and my progress has only been positive and upwards and I am almost at full speed again. Nina put me back together again almost from scratch. She is the best physio I have ever worked with and will again. Very knowledgable and very hard working. Can’t recommend enough.


What a great find! My orthopaedic surgeon recommended them and I can't rate Luigi, Gloria and the team more highly. Excellent service and very effective treatment- recovering nicely!


I am 84 years old, and have always been fit and healthy and exercised regularly. 3 years ago I underwent emergency surgery for peritonitis, and had a colonoscopy bag for 6 months and straight after surgery to reversal of the stoma. After this surgery I felt my legs very weak. To complete my drama, during the last summer I developed an abdominal hernia and had surgery for hernia repair. This made me even weaker specially at my legs. I have recovered but felt weak. I started my sessions at ALO Physiotherapy at the beginning of January, with the Vibra Machine combined with specific exercises. I have now recovered my body strength, particularly in the legs. I am now walking normally and without pain. I am delighted!


Great clinic with great people! I was so lucky to find this clinic and even more when I met Andre. He's a very talented therapist and a wonderful person who makes you feel comfortable every time. He helped me to resolve my back problems in few appointments and I will be always grateful to him! From my experience is the best clinic in London and I highly recommend them without any doubts!


One of the best physiotherapy centres in the world! The professionalism and knowledge of this centre amazed me.


I am so glad I found this clinic. Luigi has been amazing. After my 1st session I felt an improvement and now have ALOT more movement and significant reduction in pain. I couldn’t recommend this clinic & Luigi enough. So helpful and flexible whenever I have needed to amend appointments. Every one is fantastic. I will continue to come here for as long as I need.


Andre is the best physiotherapist I came across. As a dedicated martial arts practitioner, I regularly use his services. He has always managed to fix my various back and leg injuries. I would recommend Alo Physiotherapy to anyone who suffers from body pain.


Where do I begin? The journey has been too long with Andre Oliveira and ALO Clinic , as he helped me both physically and mentally to overcome an injury I had in both of my knees. A small injury , after following wrong treatment became chronic and I found myself unable to walk/stand/run and do the simplest things- the mental impact was worse. I was introduced to Andre by Eleftherios Pavlidis who runs Laertion in Athens. lefteris with his team were the first to accommodate the problem and told me what I need to do. As a Londoner, I was introduced to Andre and ALO Clinic, and the rest is history. Since February 2017 when I had the first session with Andre and he identified the biomechanic nature of the problem, along with the use of Tecar the results were visible after one month. Since then, along with personal effort and strengthening I did always guided by Andre, I the problem is restored and the pain is gone. I highly recommend ALO Physiotherapy Clinic , and Andre Oliveira for anyone who suffers from sport injuries , amateurs or professional top athletes.


Very professional staff and friendly environment. I felt a lot better after very first session. Appointment are easily available. I would definitely recommend this place


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If you have any questions or queries, or you would like to book a Complimentary Consultation or an appointment please don’t hesitate to contact us.