So, you didn’t catch our post on preventing overuse swim injuries, and now you need to know how to treat repetitive motion swim injuries? That’s OK; we’re here to help.
Swimmers are susceptible to swimmer’s shoulder and other impingement problems, as well as tendinitis, bursitis, breaststroker’s knee, and other conditions caused by the repetitive motions or repetitive strain involved in swimming. These are inflammatory conditions that can cause considerable discomfort and pain. And they certainly don’t help your swim time or endurance.
If you’re suffering from a persistent or severe repetitive motion injury, definitely pay a visit to your doctor. Minor to moderate problems can typically be managed on your own at home, though.
Below are some important basic steps to treat repetitive motion swim injuries.
Treating Overuse Swim Injuries
- Take a break from swimming; yes, we know it’s hard, but the affected area of your body needs a rest (it should be at least a few days, but how long a rest ultimately depends on the severity of the injury and symptoms)
- Also avoid other activities that involve the injured part of your body during the initial resting phase
- Reduce pain and inflammation with an over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) like aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen
- Apply a topical pain-killing cream to the site of your injury
- Talk to your doctor about a steroid injection if you need something stronger to manage the inflammation and pain
- Apply a cold compress to the affected area two or three times a day for about 20 to 30 minutes each time
- Wear a splint or an elastic support to take the strain off a problem shoulder
- While you need to rest it, don’t keep your shoulder immobilized for more than about 24 to 36 hours, as this can lead to a frozen shoulder and impaired mobility and range of motion
- Gradually introduce range of motion improvement exercises once your symptoms are under control
- Consult a physical therapist for help rehabilitating and strengthening the affected area
- Try yoga, tai chi, or acupuncture, as these have been shown to help reduce pain and inflammation, speed recovery from repetitive motion injuries, and prevent future problems
- Look into surgical solutions for severe overuse injuries affecting tendons or nerves
- Provide nutritional support for your recovery by eating a diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods; good options include fatty fish (e.g., salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, sardines, anchovies), nuts and seeds, olive oil, cherries, berries, leafy green vegetables, broccoli, bell peppers, tomatoes, turmeric, and ginger