Swimmers with poor posture are often badgered by their Physiotherapists. This is because ‘Poor Posture’ is the cause of as many injuries in swimmers as swimming training.
A slouched forward upper body and ‘poked out chin’ posture are very often the cause of shoulder, neck and back injuries in swimmers. Commonly the swimmer or parent will presume that the painful shoulder or back started during training, but often the injury was created while slouching at their desk at school or typing on their laptop in bed. The symptoms only become ‘clinical’ during training but, are not caused by training.
The swimmer who has poor slumped forward posture changes the position of the scapular in relation to the elevated humerus, placing the rotator cuff tendons in harms way.
This posture is also the reason the swimmer develops a stiff thoracic spine while also placing increased load on the shoulder musculature and hindering good mechanics.
Furthermore, this poor posture tightens the hip flexors, which in turn creates greater water resistance when swimming, so reduces the efficiency and streamline of the swimmer and adds to the overloading of the shoulder. Tight hip flexors also contribute to lower back pain.
Sleeping on your side with your head supported by your hands places a sustained compressive force on the sub-acromial bursa. This is often the cause of sub-acromial bursitis that can put a swimmer out of the water for an extended period of time.
These are only a few examples demonstrating how important posture is to the prevention of injury. Physiohealth can assist the swimmer with postural re-education and strengthening.