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2014-01-04 7:29 AM

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Subject: help w/ shoulder pain from swimming
Hi folks.

I believe I've had this problem in the past but never this severe...the front of my left shoulder aches at night, and I know it's from swimming. It doesn't hurt while I'm in the pool or during the day, but I'm a side sleeper, and I find myself tossing and turning due to the aching.

I assume there's a problem w/ my stroke. Any suggestions?

Thanks.


2014-01-04 9:02 AM
in reply to: feh

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Subject: RE: help w/ shoulder pain from swimming
I've dealt with sharp pain too, I learned it was bad technique and not swimming with the lats, but pulling with the shoulder which is bad... try to work on engaging the lats more, and stretching.
2014-01-04 9:08 AM
in reply to: feh

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Subject: RE: help w/ shoulder pain from swimming
Could be either that you are crossing the midline of your body when you pull or your reach/entry is off to the side.

You want your hand to enter the water directly above and in line with your shoulder (some people reach out away from the body or reach in with the hand entering over the head) and make sure that on your pull you are not carving in too much crossing the midline.
2014-01-04 12:57 PM
in reply to: feh

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Subject: RE: help w/ shoulder pain from swimming

Hard to say....why not post a swim video?

Swimming causing pain is not good and things can get worse so address it now.

 

2014-01-04 2:00 PM
in reply to: feh

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Subject: RE: help w/ shoulder pain from swimming

I agree with dace.  More than likely you're crossing over the center line of your shoulders as you begin to place your arm in the water.  When your arms are beginning to extend from your shoulders your arms should hit the water directly in front of the shoulder joint.  They should not cross over toward your head or they certainly shouldn't cross to the other side of the body.

You should also have some rotation of your shoulders (left shoulder to right shoulder) so that one side drops toward the bottom of the pool and the other is raised out of the water to allow the rotation within the shoulder joint to be in a neutral position.  This will allow your joints to feel much less stress and greatly reduce the chance of injury.

Lastly is hand position.  When you place your hand in the water it should be flat with the surface of the water.  No turning of the hand is needed.  If you are rotating your thumb downward to "slice" the water you're only causing your shoulder to rotate into a position that is more prone to injury.

Article about reducing shoulder injuries.

Also there is a downloadable file that will help you see what a proper swim stroke should look like at Mr. swim smooth.  Take a look at it and try to determine where your flaws seem to be.  A video will certainly prove extremely beneficial!  You can post it here to and others may be able to spot some things to help you fix as well.

2014-01-04 2:49 PM
in reply to: feh

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Subject: RE: help w/ shoulder pain from swimming

How sure are you that it's caused by swimming?  I suffered through shoulder pain in August and September that I thought was swim related but it turns out the real cause was my workstation setup at work.  I thought it was from swimming because I felt it a lot more after a swim but it turns out the swim was just aggravating it more.  Once I fixed things at work, the pain went away and it never bothered me after a swim.

 



2014-01-04 2:59 PM
in reply to: axteraa

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Subject: RE: help w/ shoulder pain from swimming

Originally posted by axteraa

How sure are you that it's caused by swimming?  I suffered through shoulder pain in August and September that I thought was swim related but it turns out the real cause was my workstation setup at work.  I thought it was from swimming because I felt it a lot more after a swim but it turns out the swim was just aggravating it more.  Once I fixed things at work, the pain went away and it never bothered me after a swim.

Was about to type something similar.  Pushups, of all things, make my L shoulder very unhappy - which is then aggravated by a hard swim.  Cut out the pushups, let the shoulder cool off, back to the pool and then add pushups again s.l.o.w.l.y. and all good.  My first thought was swimming, though, so it took a couple weeks to really figure out what was the root cause.

I have no idea what your particular issue is.  Lots of possibilities (as per the many suggestions above - the best of which is to see if you can get someone to video your stroke… it's amazingly helpful, if something of bummer to see what our ACTUAL form is like, for most of us!).

I aggravated the same shoulder a bit over a year ago after a lesson in which the coach was trying to get me to, 'Swim pretty' and keep my elbows high on recovery.  Turns out that is not such a good idea biomechanically if you don't rotate much (and I wasn't).  So, after letting it cool down, I came back and now focus on rotating (as someone above said, that helps - for me it prevents impingement of the joint).

Point is, it could be LOTS of different things - from pushups to not rotating to all of the others above.  There are "usual suspects," but it's impossible to say what is your particular cause (at least for me to).  Any chance you could hand a lifeguard your phone and have them take a quick vid??  

Good luck - shoulder pain is NO fun (and neither is reconstructive surgery, speaking from experience, so I hope you fix it soon!).

Matt

2014-01-04 3:22 PM
in reply to: mcmanusclan5

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Subject: RE: help w/ shoulder pain from swimming
I've had some shoulder pain also that is definitely aggravated by my sleep position, and my chiropractor confirmed that it's a common cause.
2014-01-04 3:39 PM
in reply to: mcmanusclan5

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Subject: RE: help w/ shoulder pain from swimming
Originally posted by mcmanusclan5

Originally posted by axteraa

How sure are you that it's caused by swimming?  I suffered through shoulder pain in August and September that I thought was swim related but it turns out the real cause was my workstation setup at work.  I thought it was from swimming because I felt it a lot more after a swim but it turns out the swim was just aggravating it more.  Once I fixed things at work, the pain went away and it never bothered me after a swim.

Was about to type something similar.  Pushups, of all things, make my L shoulder very unhappy - which is then aggravated by a hard swim.  Cut out the pushups, let the shoulder cool off, back to the pool and then add pushups again s.l.o.w.l.y. and all good.  My first thought was swimming, though, so it took a couple weeks to really figure out what was the root cause.

I have no idea what your particular issue is.  Lots of possibilities (as per the many suggestions above - the best of which is to see if you can get someone to video your stroke… it's amazingly helpful, if something of bummer to see what our ACTUAL form is like, for most of us!).

I aggravated the same shoulder a bit over a year ago after a lesson in which the coach was trying to get me to, 'Swim pretty' and keep my elbows high on recovery.  Turns out that is not such a good idea biomechanically if you don't rotate much (and I wasn't).  So, after letting it cool down, I came back and now focus on rotating (as someone above said, that helps - for me it prevents impingement of the joint).

Point is, it could be LOTS of different things - from pushups to not rotating to all of the others above.  There are "usual suspects," but it's impossible to say what is your particular cause (at least for me to).  Any chance you could hand a lifeguard your phone and have them take a quick vid??  

Good luck - shoulder pain is NO fun (and neither is reconstructive surgery, speaking from experience, so I hope you fix it soon!).

Matt




These are good comments that come to my mind as well.

I did have a nagging right shoulder problem, that was due to poor form....making sure I kept my palm facing inwards solved it. However sitting at the computer most likely is the reason for my elbow issue (mouse), so I've made adjustments to correct...hoping that is the problem.

Things like pushups can cause issues too...as I've experienced. Here the hand position is important to be aware of as well.
2014-01-04 9:33 PM
in reply to: feh

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Subject: RE: help w/ shoulder pain from swimming
Originally posted by feh

Hi folks.

I believe I've had this problem in the past but never this severe...the front of my left shoulder aches at night, and I know it's from swimming. It doesn't hurt while I'm in the pool or during the day, but I'm a side sleeper, and I find myself tossing and turning due to the aching.

I assume there's a problem w/ my stroke. Any suggestions?

Thanks.

I have been having shoulder pain while sleeping for about a year now. Turns out I just needed a new pillow. No longer have any shoulder pain.
2014-01-04 9:46 PM
in reply to: axteraa

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Subject: RE: help w/ shoulder pain from swimming
I swam with a guy who tore his rotator cuff by sleeping funny. He had never had any issues prior to that.


2014-01-08 3:44 PM
in reply to: feh

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Subject: update
Thanks for all the suggestions folks.

I swam this morning. I have no doubt that my left arm (and probably my right arm also) was crossing the center line on entry, and probably also when propelling myself. I also was "slicing" my hand into the water, with my thumb down.

So, this morning I swam w/ these thoughts in my head:

- hand should enter water above my shoulder, not above my head
- keep hand flat upon entry
- keep hand left/right of body mid line during entire stroke
- use lats more (pull) instead of using shoulder/chest to push

Lots of muscle memory to be undone. We'll see how I sleep tonight, which is when the pain shows up...
2014-01-09 7:32 AM
in reply to: feh


2

Subject: RE: update
I had the same issue. I read some where that breathing on only one side could be related to shulder pain, which at the time I was only breathing on one side. It took me a few sessions to get the hang of bilateral breathing. but I'm so glad I did. It cleared up the shoulder issue almost immediately, although while I was re-training myself to breath on both sides, I was so focused on the breathing, my lap times really dropped off so maybe the reduced spead helped the shoulder too.

Anyway, I definately recommend trying bilateral breathing.
2014-01-09 9:07 AM
in reply to: runningamok

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Subject: RE: update
Originally posted by runningamok
Anyway, I definately recommend trying bilateral breathing.



I already breath bilaterally. Although that was another change I made - I had been breathing 2-3-2-3, and I switched to every third stroke, in an attempt to smooth out my motion.
2014-01-09 10:42 AM
in reply to: feh


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Subject: RE: help w/ shoulder pain from swimming

Definitely look at stroke first, fix any x-overs, etc.

 

I will add however, that it's not all necessarily stroke mechanics. If you have a small injury from prior in your shoulder (labral tear) that could act up even with correct stroke. I have one in my shoulder that took me awhile to figure out what was making it worst - turns out it wasn't the pull power at all - it's the high elbow recovery on that side. If I lower the recovery (doesn't look as pretty), I can even use paddles no problem on that side. The best solution for me was retraining to breath to the opposite (weaker) side, which seemed to lower the arm recovery on the painful side. 

 

 

2014-01-09 11:01 AM
in reply to: yazmaster

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Subject: RE: help w/ shoulder pain from swimming
Originally posted by yazmaster

Definitely look at stroke first, fix any x-overs, etc.

 

I will add however, that it's not all necessarily stroke mechanics. If you have a small injury from prior in your shoulder (labral tear) that could act up even with correct stroke. I have one in my shoulder that took me awhile to figure out what was making it worst - turns out it wasn't the pull power at all - it's the high elbow recovery on that side. If I lower the recovery (doesn't look as pretty), I can even use paddles no problem on that side. The best solution for me was retraining to breath to the opposite (weaker) side, which seemed to lower the arm recovery on the painful side. 

 

 




In my younger days, I would often injure my shoulder doing inclined bench presses, so it's possible this is a long-term injury. I can't remember if it was the left or right, however.

I slept quite well last night. Time will tell, but I'm encouraged.


2014-01-09 11:11 AM
in reply to: 0

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Subject: RE: help w/ shoulder pain from swimming

 

 



Edited by RedCorvette 2014-01-09 11:12 AM
2014-01-09 1:59 PM
in reply to: feh

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Subject: RE: update
Originally posted by feh

Thanks for all the suggestions folks.

I swam this morning. I have no doubt that my left arm (and probably my right arm also) was crossing the center line on entry, and probably also when propelling myself. I also was "slicing" my hand into the water, with my thumb down.



  • exactly why I had the "swimmers shoulder" ...corrected my hand (palm inwards) and solved it!
    2014-03-09 9:30 AM
    in reply to: feh

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    Subject: RE: update
    One other possible cause (although I agree that taking out the thumb-first entry and cross-over are most important), is pushing down instead of pushing back during your catch/pull. This is usually a big problem for folks who learned to swim as an adult and only breathe on one side -- they tend to try to push their head up to inhale. This can put a lot of pressure on the smaller shoulder muscles instead of on the lats where it belongs.
    2014-03-09 10:08 AM
    in reply to: momandmd

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    Subject: RE: help w/ shoulder pain from swimming
    Originally posted by momandmd

    I've had some shoulder pain also that is definitely aggravated by my sleep position, and my chiropractor confirmed that it's a common cause.
    My shoulder pain is entirely related to sleeping position. I originally thought it was workout related, but in the middle of the night, I keep getting into a position where my arm is extended out above and under my head. If I make efforts to avoid that, my shoulder pain goes away. It's a very mentally comfortable position for me, so I have to make effort to avoid doing it.
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