What Is Swimmers Shoulder


Swimmers have a significant risk of shoulder injuries due to the high volume of repetitions during training. “Swimmer’s Shoulder” is a term that is used to describe multiple types of pathologies that these athletes can experience such as rotator cuff tendonitis, impingement syndrome, ligamentous laxity and instability, nerve entrapment, and muscular dysfunction. 

Any swim stroke requires the shoulder to be moved through a range of motion at shoulder height or above which can compromise the sub-acromial space in the shoulder where there is a bursa that helps protect tendons of the cuff. When this space becomes impinged or damaged, and/or the shoulder musculature is not properly strengthened, it can lead to injury or shoulder pain. 

Collaborating with a physical therapist can be beneficial to develop a cross-training program to improve function and create improved balance of the shoulder joint. Equipping the muscles and tendon tissue to handle the stress and strain of this sport is crucial to preventing injury. 


Davis DD, Nickerson M, Varacallo M. Swimmer's Shoulder. In: StatPearls. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; November 22, 2023.

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