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View Poll Results: Have you experienced shoulder pain while swimming?
Yes, I have experienced shoulder pain when swimming 38 70.37%
No, I have not experienced shoulder pain when swimming 16 29.63%
Voters: 54. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1  
Old 02-25-2011
CoachSuzanne CoachSuzanne is offline
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Default Poll: Have you experienced shoulder pain while swimming?

In light of the recent scapular motion/rotator cuff threads, I'm curious how many people have experienced shoulder pain from swimming.

If so, what did you do to cure it? Did you come to TI to seek relief? Did TI help your pain? Did TI make it worse?

Have you had surgery in the past or in the future? Has swimming helped with rehabilitation or hurt?

Please share details!
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Suzanne Atkinson, MD
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Coach of 5 time USA Triathlon Triathlete of the Year, Kirsten Sass
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  #2  
Old 02-25-2011
haschu33 haschu33 is offline
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Default 'Old' shoulder pain

I used to play a lot of tennis when I was a teenager (daily, basically) and I got shoulder problems from practicing service. It was so bad that always next day I couldn't lift my arm to do service because of shoulder pain. It went away when I was warmed up, or maybe I just ignored it, I don't remember. It quite clearly was a tendon, and it never got treated. I didn't play tennis after I was 20, so I forgot about my shoulder.
When I started my freestyle swimming, which means TI swimming, it came back at a certain point and I got a litle worried. I experienced a lot with catch and pull and found a way to swim without any shoulder pain at all: I just have to use wide tracks, not to drop my elbow, and not apply any force during the catch. Particularly dropping the elbow and 'pulling' in the catch phase brings it immediately back.

Could have been worse :-)

I have a few limitations though: when skating I can't use too much rotation and too wide tracks at the same time on my right side where the 'bad' shoulder is, then it starts hurting. Yes, and when I stand firmly (on land) and stretch my arms straight in the sky I can just touch the ceiling of my bathroom with my left hand, but I am missing 1-2 cm with my right hand. Guess I have less shoulder flexibility on that right side. What to do. Doesn't really bother me.

Last edited by haschu33 : 02-25-2011 at 08:55 PM.
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  #3  
Old 02-25-2011
CoachBillL CoachBillL is offline
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Default brief shoulder history

I took TI in Dec. 2007 partly because my fingers would get numb when I swam more than a mile (plus I knew I was a hopelessly mediocre swimmer.) By Spring 2009, my shoulders, especially upper traps, were sore enough that I sought medical advice, and did physical therapy (Blackburn exercises and all the standard light weight moves) all that summer, with a lot of rather cautious, mindful swimming. By Summer 2010, I could do 4,000 m. practices without anything more than an occasional twinge. When I started to do speed work this past December, things really started to hurt again, and I'm back to doing the exercises to see if that helps. I think if you're prone to this you just have to keep working on it, eschew discouragement, and be willing to lay off once in a while.
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  #4  
Old 02-25-2011
flppr flppr is offline
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Default

Prior to learning proper technique, I would experience not pain, but fatigue in my shoulders. Ever since I learned to move my arms in the scapular plane, I feel neither pain nor fatigue in my shoulders.
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  #5  
Old 02-26-2011
Grant Grant is offline
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Default

After my first year of swimming (non TI) I developed sore shoulders whenever I would raise my hands above my head. The Sports Med Dr gave me excercises to open up the shoulder joint and doing them on my off swimming days I have been pain free for 17 years.
Except when I pulled the longhead of the biceps tendon (left) doing pushups 2 years ago. This has healed with cortisone shots and the advice pull dont push. No pushups, dips or pull ups.
Lately after doing alot of fly I have some tenderness that seems to abate after a slow warmup.
TI freestyle does not cause any shoulder distress. The exercises I feel insures that the shoulder joint is held open.
May we swim with ease at the speeds we choose.
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May we swim with ease at the speeds we choose.
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  #6  
Old 02-26-2011
forests forests is offline
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Pre-TI, I experienced more fatigue than pain. However I did have a swim coach tell me to spear thumbs first on my entry. I tried it for a week and rehabed my shoulders for 2 months. 18 mos. into TI, I find that if I cross the centerline (laser beam) for any extended period of time, I have mild pain. Solution: wide tracks=no pain!
Steve
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  #7  
Old 02-27-2011
Louis Tharp Louis Tharp is offline
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Hi Suzanne:

I had surgery in 2005 to reattach my infraspinatus and grind down my acromia which was fraying my bicep tendon. Took six months off, focused on PT with no swimming, came back in 2006 and won two gold and two silver at Gay Games in Chicago, swimming faster than I ever have.

No pain since then despite a lot of fly, IM and distance freestyle. I don't even think about the surgery unless someone brings it up.

I interviewed three docs out of a list of about 10 I got from friends, websites and other physician referrals. I wanted a superior surgical technician as well as an artist. I wanted a surgeon who understood what I wanted out of life and how I intended to use my shoulders for sport. I wanted a surgeon who was excited about repairing my shoulder and like me, was willing to give 100 percent to ensure success.

I chose a very conservative old-school pro sports doc who had recently resigned as the doc-of-choice for a pro football team because they pressured him to get players back on the field after surgery. He performed open surgery and kept me in a sling for four months. A lot of people said I was crazy for choosing him, and he was an idiot for not poking three holes and getting the shoulder moving immediately. I'm not saying other types of shoulder surgery don't work, but I'll be crazy and go to an idiot again if it means getting the excellent results I got.

I heard horror stories about "frozen shoulder". Yea, whatever. He handled all the PT -- he didn't trust anyone else to do it -- and a top-ranked Rolfer was responsible for total range of motion and muscle/joint flexibility. A sports psychologist, who was also a top ranked age-group marathoner and understood injuries, kept me sane during my out-of-water experience.

It may have been a common shoulder injury, and a simple shoulder repair, but it was also a traumatic experience -- from the initial pain, the diagnosis, the surgery, the physical therapy and the re-training to a higher proficiency.

It was a time to create a team of experts who had been through it before, and a time to recognize the importance of understanding how injury occurs, and an individual's central role in healing and health for the long-term.

It was a time to recalibrate the sense of time, what it means to watch fitness quickly decline while structural resilience slowly builds, what it means to redefine anxiety and defer gratification. And most of all what it means to come back stronger, more confident, and more respectful of how our bodies and minds can be very fragile, but also, if cared for, able to far exceed ours and others' expectations.


Louis Tharp

Blog:
http://www.totalimmersion.net/blog/b...Louis%20Tharp/

TI Profile
http://www.totalimmersion.net/compon.../Louis%20Tharp
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  #8  
Old 02-27-2011
CoachSuzanne CoachSuzanne is offline
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Default

All, thank you so much for your stories. While I don't have time ot individually address them all, i think having your stories here will help others. I may contact some of you independently with more questions.

Lou...that is perhaps one of the finest pieces of writing I've seen from you. Thank you for sharing.
__________________
Suzanne Atkinson, MD
Level 3 USAT Coach
USA Paralympic Triathlon Coach
Coach of 5 time USA Triathlon Triathlete of the Year, Kirsten Sass
Steel City Endurance, LTD
Fresh Freestyle

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  #9  
Old 02-27-2011
dom22850 dom22850 is offline
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dom22850
Default Dry Land Training Prevents Injury

I would advise a well planned dry land training program. The problem with in water only training is that the muscles are primarily worked in eccentric motions. This creates imbalances in muscle development which leads to shoulder injuries. Dryland training with some injury prevention exercises will develop the muscles during eccentric and concentric movements leading to equal development and strengthening the muscles.
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  #10  
Old 02-27-2011
Lawrence Lawrence is offline
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I don't get shoulder pain but I do go to the gym three times a week, where my routine includes shoulder and back exercises. I don't know whether these help me avoid injury while swimming but I like the idea of being stronger than I need to be to swim.

Last edited by Lawrence : 02-27-2011 at 02:36 PM.
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