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Swimmer's Shoulder

Swimmer’s Shoulder occurs when tendons in the shoulder become inflamed and swollen. It is a type of shoulder tendinosis, and can also be called subacromial impingement or painful arc. Inadequate training or interval during swimming sessions can increase your risk of developing swimmer’s shoulder.

What is Swimmer's Shoulder

Swimmer’s shoulder is a sub-acute or chronic inflammatory condition of shoulder joint that presents with muscle pain or ache in swimmers. The pathophysiological mechanism of pain and discomfort is believed to be the mechanical impingement of the delicate connective tissue elements of shoulder joint due to strong repetitive motion of upper limbs in competitive swimmers. Over time, this can lead to labral or rotator cuff tears. 

Swimmer's Shoulder

Signs and Symptoms of Swimmer's Shoulder

Classic symptoms of Swimmer’s shoulder are:

  • Severe pain when swimming in free style
  • Muscle tenderness
  • Muscle rigidity and movement restriction

Causes of Swimmer's Shoulder

Latest data indicates that swimmer’s shoulder is caused by vigorous swimming, poor training, hypermobility of flexor muscles, muscle weakness and implementation of poor strokes, history of shoulder injury or rotator cuff impingement etc.

Statistics and Epidemiology related to Swimmer's Shoulder

According to latest estimates, the prevalence of swimmer’s shoulder in competitive swimmers is 91% (1). A latest survey that was conducted on Australian elite swimmers (2) also showed that approximately 69% reported a positive history of shoulder pain in the past 12 months.

Prevalence of Swimmer's Shoulder in elite swimmers
Elite swimmers with history of shoulder   pain
  1. Sein, M. L., Walton, J., Linklater, J., Appleyard, R., Kirkbride, B., Kuah, D., & Murrell, G. A. (2010). Shoulder pain in elite swimmers: primarily due to swim-volume-induced supraspinatus tendinopathy. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 44(2), 105-113.
  2. Arriaza, R., Ballesteros, J., & López-Vidriero, E. (2013). Suprascapular Neuropathy as a Cause of Swimmer’s Shoulder Results After Arthroscopic Treatment in 4 Patients. The American journal of sports medicine, 0363546513477383.

How MHC Treatment Options Can Help Condition Title

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Shoulder Recovery Program

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Schedule an Appointment Today

If you want to be free from Shoulder Pain don’t hesitate to call us to book a “Your Motion Matters” Initial Case Review today, for a pain free tomorrow.


Shoulder Pain Sydney CBD, Wynyard, Martin Place, Town Hall, Darling Harbour, Barrangaroo NSW | (02) 9934 9979

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