Swimmer’s Knee : Swimming Injuries

Swimmer’s knee is the term used for the painful conditions many swimmers develop as a result of their sport. It is also known as ‘Breaststroker’s knee’ because it is most commonly developed during this stroke. It is the second most common complaint after swimmer’s shoulder.

What Causes Swimmer’s Knee?

The most common cause of swimmer’s knee is poor technique in inexperienced swimmers. The main problem is the performance of the ‘whip-kick’ movement during breaststroke, because the rotation affects the medial collateral ligament which runs alongside the knee. Inexperienced swimmers with poor technique may put too much pressure on this ligament, but swimmer’s knee can occur in experienced swimmers as a result of overuse.

What are the Symptoms?

The most common symptom is pain in the knee which will worsen during physical exertion. Other symptoms may include swelling and reduced mobility in the joint.

How do you Prevent Swimmer’s Knee?

Learning the correct technique for each stroke will help prevent swimmer’s knee, but additionally it can be prevented by specific stretches and exercises and thorough warm up and cool down sessions.

How do you Treat Swimmer’s Knee?

Minor discomfort is treated with increased warm up periods and a reduction in the intensity of training. Thigh training exercises may be useful, as well as getting an assessment of your technique. Ice packs should be used to reduce any swelling as soon as the swimmer complains of pain, and if necessary anti-inflammatory medication. Physiotherapy will help strengthen the muscles. Very occasionally, and in very severe cases, surgery may be necessary.

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