Swimmers generate the majority of their propulsion through their upper limbs. Training often involves many thousands of revolutions of your shoulders a day. Overuse and microtrauma injuries are therefore a common problem. Indeed in some studies, two thirds of swimmers reported suffering with shoulder problems. For most swimmers with pain, the early pull-through phase or the early arm recovery phase of your stroke will be the most painful points. You or your coach may have noticed a change in your stroke (e.g. early entry) and slower times. Early identification of the problem will help prevent progressive damage and blunting of your symptoms: this should help both a more accurate diagnosis and faster recovery.
Muscles around the shoulder are all working during your swimming. From electrical muscle studies in swimmers with and without pain, it has been shown that two muscles (Serratus anterior and Subscapularis) are particularly prone to fatigue in swimming and this fatigue then causes poor patterning of the shoulder and makes it vulnerable to injury. Your serratus anterior is responsible for stabilising your shoulder blade, while your subscapularis muscle acts to rotate your shoulder inwards as you catch and pull through.
Many competitive swimmers begin rigorous training at an age when their joints, and especially their shoulders, are relatively lax. Shoulder instability can therefore be a problem in some swimmers, although frequently no trauma is recalled. Micro-instability, which may not even be noticeable during normal activities, may be causing pinching of your shoulder tendons within your joint, or inflamation in your subacromial bursa. When your shoulder is subjected to thousands of revolutions a day, even minor malpatterning can lead to pain and time off swimming.
It is important to get an accurate diagnosis for your shoulder. Swimmers’ shoulder is not always subacromial impingement. You and your surgeon, with the help of your therapist and swim coach should work out what is the underlying problem and then develop a strategy to address this. For many, this will not require surgery, as therapy and technique modification can improve your symptoms. Some of you will however require surgery to address structural problems and improve your function.
Have a look at this article I wrote with a swim coach. It was published in the Outdoor Swimmer Magazine in April 2018 and it discusses how the position of your arm can influence impingement in your shoulder and how you might avoid this. Technique - shoulders.pdf
Another article published Jan 2019 in Outdoor Swimmer magazine - Rotator Cuff swimming article.pdf
If you have injured your shoulder that is interfering with your swimming, or if you have concerns about returning to training, do get in touch via the contact section, or book an appointment.
Mr Granville-Chapman was very polite and his examination and explanation of my symptoms and expected treatment was thorough
I found Mr Granville-Chapman to be very knowledgeable and professional. He put me very much at ease and explained all the options that I have thoroughly. He also told me to look for further information on the condition and procedures that I needed on his website, which gave lots of information and detail. It was also easy to understand for those without a medical background. I would highly recommend his services to anyone that has shoulder problems and requires a solution.
I attended for a repair of my right bicep tendon. After a thorough examination, Mr Granville-Chapman arranged an operation to be undertaken within 2 days which was extremely quick; he explained his reasoning which was both thorough and reassuring, explaining both the options of undergoing surgery and deciding to undertake conservative management.On the day of the surgery Mr Granville-Chapman was again very reassuring as although this is minor surgery I was still somewhat apprehensive. He came to fully explain the procedure and afterI woke up was quick to check on how I was doing.Overall I am very happy with the careMr Granville-Chapman
I have been very pleased with my treatment so far. Mr Granville-Chapman combines brisk efficiency with a pleasant, sympathetic manner. My operation, however, is still to come ...
From the initial consultation, through surgery on a fractured wrist, and now post-operative follow up, it has been a very positive and reassuring experience with Mr Granville-Chapman. I would have no hesitation in recommending him to someone else.
A first class clinician. A skilled surgeon with an excellent bedside manner.
A very pleasant Consultant who knows exactly how to make pain go away.
Mr Granville - Chapman has an excellent bedside manner. He engaged with my 12 year old son at an appropriate level and took the time to ensure that he understood the procedure and answer all his questions. He is thoroughly professional and I would not hesitate to recommend him.
I have been very pleased with the attention I have received. Mr. Granville-Chapman has reassured me that my symptoms are normal. It is very easy to make appointments that suit me.
Mr Granville chapman I found be caring informative and professional I would recommend him to all if you have a problem don't hesitate to contact him you won't be disappointed.
I recently broke my right clavicle in a mountain bike accident and it was repaired by Mr Granville-Chapman by adding a plate on top of the bone. Having just finished the last post-op consultation, I can confirm that I have been very happy with the process all along. In particular, Jeremy took time to explain in detail why a plate was needed, what the procedure would entail, and also was very patient answering my questions comprehensively beforehand and after during the recovery phase. Would certainly trust this competent surgeon to fix any future fractures I might sustain.
Mr Granville-Chapman has looked after my 15 year old son brilliantly, explaining the surgery, recovery and best way forward, and Kate has been very supportive helping with logistics etc, thank you so much.
So far my experience with Mr Jeremy Granville-Chapman has been personal and informative with regard to the operation I will be having. I feel confident that my operation will be a success and for this reason I am very happy to have Mr Jeremy Granville-Chapman as my consultant.
Very knowledgeable and helpful. Takes the time to make sure you're getting the treatment you need.
Mr Jeremy Granville -Chapman is not only a highly skilled consultant but is able to put you straight away at ease .My appointments were arranged very swiftly which was great, when you are experiencing severe pain. I am very happy with my treatment so far . many thanks to everyone who was involved in my treatment.
Polite, helpful, professional. Makes an effort to ensure full understanding of issues and procedures to be done. Highly satisfied
Very pleasant. Clear, careful explanations & options/possibilities. I feel well informed, and happy that my concerns are being well addressed, with a plan of review of the symptoms.
Excellent advise with everything explained clearly and a successful treatment which has benefited be greatly.
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