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Musculoskeletal dysfunctions associated with swimmers’ shoulder
  1. Filip Struyf1,
  2. Angela Tate2,
  3. Kevin Kuppens1,3,
  4. Stef Feijen1,
  5. Lori A Michener4
  1. 1 Department of Rehabilitation Sciences and Physiotherapy, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium
  2. 2 Department of Physical Therapy, Arcadia University, Glenside, Pennsylvania, USA
  3. 3 Department of Physiotherapy, Human Physiology and Anatomy, Faculty of Physical Education and Physiotherapy, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussel, Belgium
  4. 4 Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Filip Struyf, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Antwerp, Universiteitsplein 1, Wilrijk 2610, Antwerp, Belgium; Filip.struyf{at}


Shoulder pain is the most reported area of orthopaedic injury in swimmers. The so-called ‘swimmers’ shoulder’ has been applied to a variety of complaints involving shoulder pain in swimmers without specific reference to contributing mechanisms or structures. Knowledge of dysfunctions associated with swimmers’ shoulder can assist clinicians in developing rehabilitation strategies. This literature review aims at providing clinicians insight into the musculoskeletal mechanisms and impairments associated with swimmers’ shoulder that could aid them in developing rehabilitation strategies. The following musculoskeletal dysfunctions will be discussed: muscle activity, strength, endurance, muscle control, range of motion, glenohumeral laxity, glenohumeral instability, shoulder posture and scapular dyskinesis. The findings in this review may have implications for swimmers, their coaches, and rehabilitation specialists working with swimmers.

  • Swimming
  • Shoulder
  • Review

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  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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