General Discussion Triathlon Talk » swim with bad shoulder Rss Feed  
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2008-04-06 1:17 PM

New user
11

Colorado
Subject: swim with bad shoulder

Just had my second shoulder surgery and still not fixed. Should I consider using the sidestroke/combat swimmer method or struggle with an inefficient crawl due to improper mechanics.

What difference in speed is there between the two strokes in general and does any one use the side stroke in an actual tri?

I'm just starting out training and used to be a semi-adequate swimmer but the shoulder has kept me from any real swimming for several years.

 



2008-04-06 1:45 PM
in reply to: #1318860

Vancouver, BC
Subject: RE: swim with bad shoulder
Are you talking about this?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4lUHudMN1TU

I'd say you should rest your shoulder. The side stroke looks like it would be about as fast as breast stroke, maybe slightly faster.

2008-04-06 1:57 PM
in reply to: #1318860

New user
11

Colorado
Subject: RE: swim with bad shoulder

Yes thats what I was thinking/talking about. The shoulder motion for that looks like it might work for me. I would obviously have to try it out. I'm not to that point yet because of the pain/stiffness still present but am close to be released by the doctor. I just wish they could figure out whats wrong.

Have you seen any one do that in a race? 2 min per hundred seems like that would be plenty fast enough to participate obviously its not winning time but that aint gonna happen anyway.

2008-04-06 2:10 PM
in reply to: #1318900

Vancouver, BC
Subject: RE: swim with bad shoulder
I've never seen anyone do it in a race. I'd say if you're at a point where you have to use a modified stroke in a race then chances are you shouldn't be racing. There is too much temptation in the race to push through the pain.

Just looking at the marine stroke I can tell you it's going to place a lot of stress on both shoulders. Your probably better off keeping your injured arm extended (but as relaxed as possible) and do a single arm stroke. You could also look at what some the para-Olympic swimmers do, I'm sure they've come up with creative modified strokes.

Another thing you can try is kicking on your back or side. It seems like having a shoulder injury is a good excuse to work on kicking and body alignment (core muscles).
2008-04-06 2:37 PM
in reply to: #1318921

New user
11

Colorado
Subject: RE: swim with bad shoulder

"look at what some the para-Olympic swimmers do, I'm sure they've come up with creative modified strokes. "

Good idea, I'll have to look into that.

I'm not going to race to be # 1 but for the personal satisfaction of testing myself and finishing and to be with others who have the same desires I have.

2008-04-06 2:48 PM
in reply to: #1318860

Buttercup
Subject: RE: swim with bad shoulder
radioactivecowboy - 2008-04-06 2:17 PM

Just had my second shoulder surgery and still not fixed. Should I consider using the sidestroke/combat swimmer method or struggle with an inefficient crawl due to improper mechanics.

I would not use that stroke in an open water swim. It has very little forward momentum; you'd be working hard just to stay in place if there is any chop or swells at all. Notice how much the guy in the youtube video is using his legs? It would probably work in a pool swim, though.

Not knowing what your shoulder issues are, I can't advise what stroke you should use. Just saying the side crawl (and breaststroke) are not choices I would make for an OWS. A lot of work with not a lot of forward movement to show for it. The side crawl thing would be okay if the tide is bringing you in, though.

Can you do backstroke? You can get some pretty good momentum swimming backstroke, even in open water.



Edited by Renee 2008-04-06 2:50 PM


2008-04-06 3:13 PM
in reply to: #1318860

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Extreme Veteran
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Glendora, CA.
Subject: RE: swim with bad shoulder
Hey radioactivecowboy....just had shoulder surgery in later part of February. I feel your pain and having a 2nd surgery on the same shoulder just has to SUCK! But, reign it in cowboy!

I would avoid the "combat stroke". If your shoulder is still repairable, then you may end of doing more damage and impairing the ability to repair the shoulder. Remember that the shoulder, rotator cuff, tendons are complex and in extended positions are not in a very stable position. You would be putting a lot of strain on the shoulder with the potential of doing more damage than necessary. So some questions:

* When was the surgery?
* How did you determine the second surgery did not fix the issue?
* What is your range of motion?
* What is your pain level?
* Are you in physical therapy?

All the best!!!!

2008-04-06 5:16 PM
in reply to: #1319013

New user
11

Colorado
Subject: RE: swim with bad shoulder

maniac - I had the surgery the end of feb.

I knew 2 weeks after the surgery that the prob was still there- the range of motion was 85% of the pre surgery and the pain was in the exact same location and caused by same movement as previous.

I thought my range of motion was about equal both sides but this session of pt revealed that the shoulder blade was moving excessively to compensate and give the appearance of full range. actual range without the additional movement is probably 60% above the head and across the body both of which cause pain.

pain is about a 2 at all times and goes to 10+ if the movement is right. For the most part I have little pain except when trying to raise hand above shoulder level in front or across the body. 45 degrees to the side and all is well.

I'm still going to pt but since this is the second time around I know what the excercises are and how to do them. The only benifit I get from pt is the forced stretch that I can't do alone.

Got another doctors appt this week will see if he has any other ideas as to the problem.



Edited by radioactivecowboy 2008-04-06 5:18 PM
2008-04-06 6:11 PM
in reply to: #1318860

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Extreme Veteran
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Glendora, CA.
Subject: RE: swim with bad shoulder
Sounds good radioactivecowboy that you have another appointment with the doc. Don't give up on the physical therapy. It is necessary just to keep the range of motion you have and not loose it. See what your doc has to say...but, you know that you are still healing.....it does take time for these things to heal. The one thing I learned from this experience with my shoulder is that I have to have extreme patience.;....this is difficult for triathletes. We can be very impatient creatures.

Keep us posted on what the doc has to say!

2008-04-06 6:17 PM
in reply to: #1319218

Buttercup
Subject: RE: swim with bad shoulder
radioactivecowboy - 2008-04-06 6:16 PM

I'm still going to pt but since this is the second time around I know what the excercises are and how to do them. The only benifit I get from pt is the forced stretch that I can't do alone.

Got another doctors appt this week will see if he has any other ideas as to the problem.

Ask your physical therapist about swimming and which strokes are no-no's for you. That person would be THE person to ask, rather than this board.

2008-04-06 6:38 PM
in reply to: #1318860

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Bob
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Binghamton, NY
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Subject: RE: swim with bad shoulder

What about a year or two of Duathlons? I wouldn't risk permanent damage by swimming so soon. Wait until your ROM is closer to 100% before swimming. I did AquaBikes while my leg was recovering from a femoral stress fracture and came back stronger for waiting it out and not pushing too soon.

Just my $.02 



2008-04-06 8:22 PM
in reply to: #1319341

New user
11

Colorado
Subject: RE: swim with bad shoulder

Renee - I have asked and he doesn't want me to swim yet. I'm trying to look ahead at options as I think there may not be a fix.

I was looking more for info as to what strokes people have seen instead of freestyle at races.

I don't think the backstroke would be an option at this point.

currently the therapist and dr don't necessarily agree on the issue but both think continued therapy can't hurt.

2008-04-06 8:35 PM
in reply to: #1319386

New user
11

Colorado
Subject: RE: swim with bad shoulder

rstocks3 - duathalons may be where i'm headed as a last resort. I would truly like to keep the swim as an option even if I have to modify it some way. I'm not going to swim before the doc/therapist give me the green light but I'm a little discouraged with the outcome of the second surgery so far. The good news is the second surgeon said the first guy did an excellent job of repair considering what he had to work with. I guess I might be lucky to have what I do.

 

2008-04-06 10:07 PM
in reply to: #1319620

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Minnetonka, MN
Subject: RE: swim with bad shoulder
radioactivecowboy - 2008-04-06 8:35 PM

rstocks3 - duathalons may be where i'm headed as a last resort. I would truly like to keep the swim as an option even if I have to modify it some way. I'm not going to swim before the doc/therapist give me the green light but I'm a little discouraged with the outcome of the second surgery so far. The good news is the second surgeon said the first guy did an excellent job of repair considering what he had to work with. I guess I might be lucky to have what I do.



I've had my shoulder re-constructed a few times myself, and recently had a partial dislocation/subluxation that has me out of the pool. Don't come back too early, as you will do more damage. I was out for over 3 months last time, and I recovered enough to play hockey as a goalie at a high level. It just takes a LONG time with shoulders, and you can't cut any corners.

Do the rehab. The external rotation with the bands is really, really important if you don't want to lose range of motion.

Good luck.
2008-04-07 12:09 AM
in reply to: #1318860

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Extreme Veteran
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Anaheim
Subject: RE: swim with bad shoulder

COuld you send me a PM with your symptoms. I've had probs in both shoulders one has been fixed and one needs a 2nd surgery and is causing problems with my swim lately. I'm hoping we can share useful info or at least commiserate!

 

thanks!

2008-04-07 3:07 PM
in reply to: #1318860


38
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Subject: RE: swim with bad shoulder
radioactivecowboy - 2008-04-06 1:17 PM

Just had my second shoulder surgery and still not fixed. Should I consider using the sidestroke/combat swimmer method or struggle with an inefficient crawl due to improper mechanics.

What difference in speed is there between the two strokes in general and does any one use the side stroke in an actual tri?

I'm just starting out training and used to be a semi-adequate swimmer but the shoulder has kept me from any real swimming for several years.

 


RAC, you should get to someone who understands stroke technique & shoulder mechanics. HOW you use your shoulder when you swim can be "tweaked" to both get the most out of each stroke & mitigate your pain. Depending on what kind of shoulder injury you have, you might be able to swim better, pain free & happy.
No offense to your physio, but they're not all created equal. I'd look for one that specializes in sports rehab, then further try to find one who has worked with swimmers. You might find that person through a local college, maybe a Div. 1 or 2 school with scholarship athletes.
As for the combat sidestroke, you can go pretty fast with that, but why bother? I've worked with lots of people with shoulder problems & most can be helped by changing their stroke. I'm in Colorado, too, so let me know if I can help.
Good Luck whaterver you decide...


2008-04-08 10:06 PM
in reply to: #1321460

New user
11

Colorado
Subject: RE: swim with bad shoulder

swimguy - I might be in touch when released by the doctor for swimming if it happens. I'll ask around the local campus, my doc and therapist for suggestions.

I'm not liking my current therapist due to differences in opinion as to progress. I think my visit today was the last. I may be limited in the local area due to being fairly small city.

If you know someone in the Grand Junction area let me know.

2008-04-09 11:05 AM
in reply to: #1318860

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Veteran
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Virginia
Subject: RE: swim with bad shoulder

i know this doesn't answer the side stroke vs. combat stroke question but was hoping this would help....

my first advice to you would be to not get frustrated with your shoulder and trying to come back too fast (like many have also stated on this forum).  i was a competitive swimmer for 15 years and have had shoulder issues related to swimming for 11 of those years.  shoulders take an extremely long time to heal, especially after surgery.  even when it feels ok on land, doesn't mean that its going to feel ok in the water.

have you had anyone analyze your stroke?  the reason that you continue to feel pain could be that you are putting the same amount of stress on your now weakened shoulder.  improper hip rotation and elbow position could be two major causes of added stress and pain.  try to rotate your hips more when you swim to take the pressure off of the shoulder and make sure your elbow isn't too high when you recover.  its hard to discribe in words but hopefully this makes a little sense.  it also helps if you try to swim from your "core" and not just your arms and legs.

if you want to get in the water but aren't ready for the full swim, put fins on and "kick" how many yards you would have swum (arms at sides).  its great for leg strength and then you also won't feel like you are completely loosing your feel for the water, this also helps with the mental aspect of coming back from shoulder injuries.

keep me posted on your progress and stay with the PT, it will help.

 

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