Research study about collegiate swimmers and shoulder pain

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Changes in Clinical Measures and Tissue  Adaptations in Collegiate Swimmers Across a  Competitive Season 

According to the NCAA Sports Sponsorship and Participations Rates Report, 22,375 male and  female collegiate swimmers competed during the 2016-2017 season.

Despite their competitive  success:

  • 29.5% of recently surveyed NCAA swimmers reported competing with arm trouble  along with 
  • 18.2% competing with a current injury.

The same authors also suggest a cumulative  effect of swimming training on shoulder pain as shown by swimmers competing 11 or more  years having lower functional scores than swimmers competing 10 years or less. 

Due to high training volume, competitive swimmers incur shoulder pain and injury, but certain  physical characteristics, such as:

  • shoulder range of motion (ROM) and endurance, and 
  • tissue  adaptations such as posterior capsule thickness (PCT) and supraspinatus tendon structure may  also be risk factors. 

Decreased endurance and ROM have been found in competitive swimmers  along with being related to pain. However, no longitudinal studies have examined:

  • pain and 
  • disability,
  • range of motion,
  • training volume,
  • shoulder endurance and
  • tendon structure.

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