Swimmer Shoulder

Shoulder impingement syndrome, better known around the pool as swimmer’s shoulder, occurs when the tendons of the rotator cuff muscles become irritated and inflamed as they pass through the subacromial space, the passage beneath the acromion. This can result in pain, weakness and loss of movement at the shoulder.

While I cannot use the words always and never when it comes to shoulder pain, I can tell you that most swimmer’s shoulder pain is either from a nonswimming injury that is then aggravated by swimming or from incorrect stroke mechanics, and a few cases of extreme yardage overload.

Regardless of what caused your swimmer’s shoulder I want to give you a thought on rehabilitation.  After the ice and rest phase, much of the rehab provided focuses on strength development. All of this is good, but I want to suggest that you also need to work on muscle balance. You need to ensure that each of the four main muscles of the rotator cuff are strengthened together, keeping your shoulder balanced as you recover.  If one or more stays weaker the balance can lead to returning pain and injury.

Remember that the best way to heal an injured rotator cuff is to fix your mechanics before the problem occurs.

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