Monday, January 2, 2012

Exercises for Swimmer's Shoulders

Swimmer's shoulder is a condition in which the shoulder muscles become inflamed and irritated. It can be caused by a variety of errors such as improper swimming technique, excessive swimming or overtraining and improper breathing. Because swimmer's shoulder can be extremely painful, it is important to understand ways that it can be remedied and prevented.
Revise Swimming Style and Technique
You can treat and avoid swimmer's shoulder by practicing proper form while swimming. Your hand must enter the water with your palm facing inward and your little finger hitting the water first. Do not allow your hands to cross the middle of your body while swimming. Gradually increase your swimming intensity and frequency instead of pushing yourself and wearing out your shoulder muscles.
Stretching and Exercise
Stretch out and strengthen your shoulder and arms about an hour before and after swimming to help loosen up your muscles and joints. For example, stretch the rotator cuff muscles in your shoulders by doing shoulder raises. Or hook an exercise band beneath your feet and pull your elbows back and up in a rowing motion. You can also stretch and strengthen the core muscles of the abdomen and lower back on an exercise ball to help minimize swimmer's shoulder.
Follow the RICE protocol, using rest, ice, compression and elevation. Rest your shoulder and avoid swimming to help reduce pain, inflammation and additional injury. Place a sealable bag full of ice or a cold pack against your shoulder for about 20 minutes to help constrict the blood vessels in your shoulder and reduce symptoms. Wrap your shoulder with an athletic bandage and elevate it to help facilitate the drainage of the blood and fluid that can cause swelling and pain. Take a nonsteroidal medication such as ibuprofen to control symptoms as your injury heals.
Severe swimmer's shoulder may require surgical intervention, especially if it has caused tears or the shoulder is surrounded by severely inflamed tissue. A doctor can perform arthroscopic surgery, a process in which a small camera is inserted beneath the skin. This camera, called an arthroscope, can look at the shoulder muscles to determine the extent of injury or even repair the damaged tissue that surrounds your injured shoulder joint.

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