Swimming is Not as Injury-Free as you May Think

By St Helena Sports Medicine
August 15, 2017

sports injuries CA

Health and wellness have become an important topic of discussion among people of all ages in recent years. From childhood all the way through our senior years, we do ourselves an enormous favor by staying active. Whether as a preference or due to limited physical ability, many people choose to get their workout on in the water. Swimming is an excellent activity for low-impact exercise, but it is not without the potential for injury. If you are a swimmer at any level, you want to know how to protect yourself.

Are you at risk?

Every person who engages in any physical exercise or sport has a certain risk for injury. Swimming is no exception. Individuals who swim competitively or who spend an extended number of hours performing this activity may have a slightly higher risk. Finally, injury-risk may be exacerbated by forgetting important points.

If you want to reduce your risk of injury while enjoying your weekly or daily jaunt through the water, consider a few simple actions:

  1. Treat swimming like exercise – because it is! A crucial aspect of injury prevention is to warm up before any sport or exercise session. Even swimmers need to stretch out the muscles that will be engaged during kicks and strokes.
  2. Treat swimming like a sport – because it is! This means that proper technique needs to be learned and used. Efficiency is not only important for competitors, but it also enables the avid swimmer to engage muscles appropriately, so overuse does not lead to strain. To achieve this ideal, it may be necessary to schedule a few sessions with a swimming coach. The long-term gain is worth the investment.
  3. Engage all muscle groups. It is beneficial to strengthen muscles in the water and out, and not just those that are obvious. Whole-body fitness aids the swimmer in performance, and good performance decreases injury risk.
  4. Stay alert. This is especially relevant to swimmers who take to the open waters, such as a lake or the ocean. Mindfulness of surroundings, including other swimmers or motorized vehicles, is necessary to maintain the highest degree of safety.
  5. Be vigilant about health. Athletes have a way of “toughing it out,” but this can be counterproductive to the point of leading to injury. During bouts with the flu or fatigue, swimmers are encouraged to take a day or two to rest.

There are challenges with an active lifestyle, but also ways to mitigate risks. If you find yourself in a painful situation, your Napa Valley orthopedic surgeon is here to help. Contact us to schedule your consultation.

Sports Injuries


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