Swimmer’s Shoulder

Like most names associated with injuries and conditions, Swimmer’s Shoulder is a common occurrence for those in the community who frequently swim.

However, it is certainly not limited to Swimmers, in fact many people who sustain “Swimmer’s Shoulder” may rarely step in the water.

What is Swimmer’s Shoulder?

In its most basic sense, Swimmer’s Shoulder is essentially an overuse injury, where the tendons surrounding the joint (and connecting the muscles to bone for movement) become inflamed, swollen and in many cases quite painful. It is usually characterised by swimmers due to the extensive “arm overhead” work, and the circumduction (circular motion) of the shoulder – specifically with strokes such as freestyle and butterfly.

This kind of resistance training is not only tough on swimmers, but also those who use their shoulders a lot through work such as plasterers and panel beaters. Some other sportsmen and women can even find themselves experiencing a little irritation, including cricketers, netballers and in some cases striking and fielding sports such as softball.

How does it happen?

Like many overuse injuries, the body is responding to an area being worked too often and not being given the time to heal. This is usually the case for people that train in the pool more than 3 times a week, or work in conditions where overhead lifting or working is common. Generally, a case of Swimmer’s Shoulder will become painful throughout a session or throughout the week, and slowly become more painful the more it is used.

Is there a cure for Swimmer’s Shoulder?

Although there isn’t a one-stop injection or pill, Swimmer’s Shoulder can be considered extremely manageable and will clear up if the proper precautions are taken.

  • Pain is your body’s alarm system – if you are in pain immediately stop. ‘Working through’ will do more damage to the joint, and as other areas of your body start to “help” by compensating, you risk other injuries too!
  • Change up your training – this can be done through kicking-only sessions, or even some land based options such as walking, pilates or work with resistance bands
  • Ice and Compression – are all options for immediate treatment
  • REST- Evaluate your training schedule, technique and give your body the chance to heal!

And the most important thing you can do…

  • TALK TO SOMEONE WHO KNOWS BEST – Your physiotherapist is trained not only to help support you through your illness or injury, but also to ensure it doesn’t happen again. This means they will be able to educate you on your situation and make further recommendations.

Don’t let Swimmer’s Shoulder force you to the sideline.
Trust Progressive Sports and Spinal Physiotherapy to work with you, and for you, to get you back on your feet when it counts the most. We take a holistic approach, and work alongside you every step of the way to make it as hassle-free as possible! Contact the practice for an assessment today on (02) 4721 7798, email info@progressiverehab.com.au or book your next appointment online, here.

Elin, is an alumni of St. Edward’s University and holder of a Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology, furthered her academic journey by attaining a Doctor of Physiotherapy from Macquarie University in 2022.

Her passion for sports, particularly football (soccer), is evident in both her academic pursuits and personal endeavors. Specialising in the comprehensive well-being of athletes, Elin focuses on restoring them to peak performance while actively preventing future injuries.

Elin’s professional expertise is centered on musculoskeletal rehabilitation, with a specific emphasis on addressing and preventing knee injuries. Her approach integrates expert treatment with a commitment to educating and empowering patients, fostering their active involvement in enhancing their health and overall quality of life.

As an active participant in NPL football with SD Raiders, Elin brings firsthand experience and a profound understanding of the sport’s demands. Beyond the field, she extends her influence by contributing sports coverage over the weekends.

Christopher (Chris) Han graduated from the University of Sydney with a Bachelor’s Degree in Occupational Therapy, and then completed the Doctor of Physiotherapy program at Macquarie University in 2018. Chris is currently undertaking his PhD at the University of Sydney and Institute for Musculoskeletal Health in the field of low back pain and is due to complete this in early 2024. 

Chris is currently an assistant Physiotherapist for the NRL Referees. Chris has previous experience as the head Physiotherapist at Panthers Premier League Netball and a number of elite sporting athletes in the private setting.

Through Chris’ experiences, he has a particular interest in all areas of the body and musculoskeletal physiotherapy, sports, vestibular rehabilitation, and Men’s Health (pre and post prostate surgery).

Suzanne graduated from Western Sydney University with a Bachelor of Health Science (Sports and Exercise Science) in 2015. She then went on to continue her studies at Macquarie University graduating from the Doctor of Physiotherapy post-graduate degree in June 2019.

Since graduating, Suzanne has worked in the local Penrith area in both private practice and Sports Physiotherapy. Suzanne has worked with sporting teams including Penrith District Netball Association, Mt Druitt Rangers (NPL), Penrith Valley Figure Skating Club, and local dance and cheer schools. 

Suzanne has a particular interest in working with artistic athletes including cheerleaders and dancers. She has a professional background in both cheer and dance and has previously worked as both a cheer coach and dance teacher. Suzanne’s previous experiences are an invaluable resource to her as a physiotherapist, as she has a thorough understanding of the level of physical fitness and skill acquisition that these athletes must have in order to be successful on stage and in competition.

Suzanne’s other areas of clinical interest reside in lower limb musculoskeletal injuries, spinal pathologies and women’s health.

Nathanial graduated as a physiotherapist in 2012 which saw him work in private practice and hospital settings gaining experience in all areas of physiotherapy including hand therapy, splinting/casting, pre/post-operative care, Men’s Health and general musculoskeletal, occupational and sports physiotherapy. Since then he has gone on to complete further studies in physiotherapy enabling him to be the only dual titled Musculoskeletal, Sports and Exercise Physiotherapist in Penrith.

Nathanial has a strong background in sports physiotherapy achieving accreditation with NSWIS as a service provider and working with many elite sports teams.

Nathanial has a particular interest in working with elite athletes, complex cases and in particular assessment and management of knee, hip and shoulder pain.

Andrea graduated from the Australian Catholic University completing her Bachelor of Exercise and Sports Science in 2018 and Master’s of Clinical Exercise Physiology in 2020. After graduating she attained accreditation with ESSA as an Exercise Physiologist.

During her studies she gained clinical experience in both hospital and private practice settings, in cardiac rehabilitation, neurological conditions, cancer and chronic musculoskeletal injuries.

Since working at Progressive, Andrea has a specialist interest in treating musculoskeletal injuries, helping people in the mid-late stage of rehab to get them to return to sport or work. As well as helping people manage chronic conditions such as arthritis, osteoporosis and diabetes.