Swimmer's Shoulder Follow-up

Updated: Feb 03, 2017
  • Author: Sherwin SW Ho, MD; Chief Editor: Craig C Young, MD  more...
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Follow-up

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The athlete is allowed to return to swimming on a gradual basis once he is completely pain free, has a full range of motion, and has normal strength of the rotator cuff, as compared to the opposite shoulder. Return to swimming should preferably occur under the guidance of a physical therapist or athletic trainer, and swim coach.

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Prevention

A structured rotator cuff strengthening program during the off-season and a gradual increase in training at the beginning of the season can help prevent the occurrence of swimmer's shoulder. Avoiding rotator cuff fatigue through proper mechanics and conditioning is the key to preventing injury. Knowing the signs and symptoms of rotator cuff fatigue and tendinitis can help the physician, trainer, and coach determine when a swimmer should rest his or her shoulder.

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Prognosis

The prognosis for a full recovery with appropriate rest and rotator cuff rehabilitation is good. Surgery is seldom required except in the most recalcitrant cases.

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Education

Educating athletes, parents, and coaches can go a long way toward successful rehabilitation and avoiding recurrent injuries. The role and importance of the rotator cuff in the swimmer's shoulder should be emphasized, and hence the importance of completing a shoulder rehabilitation program.

For patient education resources, see the Breaks, Fractures, and Dislocations Center and Sports Injury Center, as well as Rotator Cuff Injury.

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