The shoulder “ball and socket” has the greatest range of motion of any joint in the body.
Bone - Your shoulder is a ball that fits into a very shallow socket.
Cartilage - Extends out from the socket to create a deeper fit.
Ligaments - Form a capsule around the joint adding further stability.
Tendons - Run around and over your joint providing motion and strength. The muscles most commonly injured by swimming are called the “rotator cuff muscles”.
The Rotator Cuff - Is made up of 4 muscles which work together to help keep your shoulder centered in the socket.
Swimmer’s shoulder is an umbrella term covering a range of painful possibilities in swimmers. Because there are many parts of your shoulder beyond the ball and socket, your injury is not limited to just the area of pain. The injury can come from the neck, the collar bone, the shoulder blade, the rib cage, or the arm. Being an overuse injury, it is caused by repeated motion, rather than a specific incident.
SWIMMER'S SHOUDER HAS THE FOLLOWING CHARACTERISTICS:
Swimmers develop muscle imbalances due to the nature of swimming. Some muscle groups are well developed with use, while others are underdeveloped, simply because they don’t get used as much. This muscle imbalance stresses ligaments, allowing the ball of the shoulder to sit higher up in the socket. This compresses the space where tendons run through causing irritation and impingement.
Develop a good, symmetrical body rotation and efficient bilateral breathing pattern.
BAD BODY ROTATION GOOD BODY ROTATION
A thumb first entry into the water can lead to excessive rotation and eventually to acute pain and an 'over‐use' injury. Consider a flat hand, finger tip first hand entry into the water.
Typically, a dropped elbow or very straight arm, loads the shoulder muscles excessively and pushes down, rather than pressing back. A ‘high elbow catch’ technique enhances posture and utilizes the more powerful muscle groups of your chest and upper back.
It may be difficult to comprehend, but your neck and upper back are very important in shoulder rehabilitation.
Neck and spine dysfunction can refer pain to the shoulder and create nerve pressure, causing weakness and alter movement patterns.
Plus, poor spinal posture means an unstable anchor for the shoulder to act upon.
Treatment directed at the neck and upper back is often overlooked, is sometimes required to ease pain, improves your shoulder movement, and helps avoid re-injury.
Your scapula (shoulder blade) is anchored to the rib cage.
Normal scapular movement is also required for powerful shoulder function. Changes here, disrupt movement pattern that results in injury.
Researchers have identified poor scapular function as a major cause of rotator cuff impingement. Proper stabilization exercises are key to successful rehabilitation.
Restoring rotator cuff strength is most beneficial when done in conjunction with spinal and scapular stability. Providing a stable base is essential before loading the rotator cuff with exercises.
Strengthening the rotator cuff muscles with a successful rehabilitation program can help prevent more complicated secondary condition and season ending injuries.
Swimming requires repetitive arm actions, which place enormous stress on the shoulder.
Dr. Arbuckle will guide you systematically to address the important components of your personalized rehabilitation to improve performance, avoid injury, and accelerate injury recovery.