Repetitive Stroke Injuries in Swimming : Swimming Injuries

What are the causes of repetitive stroke injuries in swimming?

In a sport such as swimming there are many strokes which constantly need to be repeated and can inevitably cause injury to the muscles. Strokes such as the breast stroke can cause a knee injury as the knee is required to rotate unlike the movement of the stroke. Due to the rotation needed to perform the breast stroke the knee is put under great stress and this increases the chances of being injured. A knee injury can occur during the breast stroke because of the ‘whip kick’ which is when all the force of the kick focuses its energy on the leg and puts increase pressure onto the knee which causes injury. If you do not perform the breast stroke correctly you are further at risk of getting injured as many swimmers have found out after injuring themselves by not performing the stroke as it should be done. Butterfly strokes can also be classed under a repetitive stroke injury as it causes lower back pain from the pressure caused by the continuous action of arching of the back when performing this stroke.

Symptoms of Repetitive Stroke

If you experience severe knee pain then you could be suffering from swimmers knee which can be caused by not performing the breast stroke properly or placing too much pressure on the knee. The pain will often heighten during any physical exercise which puts pressure onto the knee cap. The knee may swell and become inflamed and feel tender when touched. Movement of the knee may be limited due to the pain and therefore it is best that if you experience these symptoms and are using the breast stroke you should consult your doctor. If you experience mild or severe pain in the lower back and it persists you could have injured yourself from performing the butterfly stroke incorrectly and putting too much pressure on the back. Other symptoms include swelling and pain that is heightened when the back is extended.

Medical Treatment for Repetitive Stroke

Medication for a breast stroke knee injury includes resting the affected knee and taking medication to reduce the swelling and any pain. In severe and extreme cases of breast stroke knee injuries patients would require surgery but this only happens if the symptoms are of a severe nature. The medication required for a butterfly back injury is anti-inflammatory treatment and pain relief.

Prevention of Repetitive Stroke

It is recommended to stretch before you swim and have a good warm up so that your body is ready for the butterfly or breast stroke. Exercises such as squats and leg presses can help strengthen your muscles and get them ready for the kicks that you have to do for example in the breast stroke.

Try to practice your strokes so that you know that you are performing them correctly and try not to over work your muscles. Practicing a variety of strokes can ensure that the pressure on your knee and back is reduced.

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