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2019 / NO.2
2019 / NO.2
Exercise Injuries Related to SwimmingIs Sudden Death Preventable?

When swimming, swimmers are less affected by the impact of gravitational force and their muscles endure an equal amount of force in water. Since swimmers' bodies are floating in water, their joints do not bear their weight and thus they are least burdened in swimming compared to other types of physical activities. The moves of swimming (like those in the breaststroke) can also ensure the movements of joints and develop the strength of muscles. Therefore, swimming is supposed to be a type of exercise that involves fewer injuries and it is a very good way to work out. However, there is still a chance that injuries occur during exercise, while swimming is no exception.

Common acute injuries include scratches and contusions caused by falling. In particular, as swimmers engage in exercise on the wet floor near the swimming pool without any protection by clothing, there is a higher chance of falling down and suffering from more severe injuries. In addition, as swimmers have dived into water, they may also suffer from different injuries in the five main sense organs due to the changes in water pressure, with the most common types such as otitis media, rhinitis, conjunctivitis, tympanic membrane perforation, and retinal detachment in serious incidents.

Common chronic injuries mainly include chronic strain inflammation of joints. All four major styles of swimming require intense shoulder joint movements. Swimming involves the most frequent shoulder joint movements among other types of exercise. Shoulder joints are very flexible and are able to perform a full rotation. Therefore, they are relatively less stable and more vulnerable.

Research in epidemiological studies suggests an annual increase in the occurrences of shoulder joint injuries during swimming. Such injuries are related to excessive training, incorrect swimming postures and excessive training on certain body parts. Shoulder joint injuries most commonly occur in freestyle and butterfly strokes. For example, when athletes draw their arm out of water as they are performing freestyle, this arm-lifting move causes the rotating muscle group of the shoulder joint to be pressed by both the acromion of the shoulder blade and the humeral head. If the arm is drawn out of water repeatedly, the resulting repeated pressing can easily cause injuries and chronic inflammation. Another example is that when athletes are engaging in breaststroke training, their knee joint has to be contracted and relaxed repeatedly and quadriceps are also contracted intensely. An excessively large or small hip abduction angle, ankle joint flexion or external rotation may result in the knee joint enduring an excessive force or chronic knee joint damage caused by repeated injuries.

To prevent exercise injuries related to swimming, we should make sure of the following:

Do sufficient warm-up exercise; Ensure correct postures; Do not swim excessively; Avoid running around the pool; Avoid diving when symptoms occur to sense organs. When we do not swim, we should do exercise which aims to strengthen our muscles and improve joint flexibility to reduce the chance that injuries happen during swimming.