Background The main symptom of the swimmer’s shoulder is the pain in the shoulder region during or after the swimming action. This is followed by the gradually increasing restriction of the ROM and deterioration in function.
Objective Our study aimed to establish the prevalence of the swimmer’s shoulder amongst competitive swimmers at a young age.
Design Non-randomised cross-section study.
Setting The measurements were carried out in the major regional swimming centers across Hungary.
Patients (or Participants) 304 children (164 male, 140 female), aged 11–13 were involved in the study.
Interventions (or Assessment of Risk Factors) During the two year study period questionnaires about swimming training methods and the existence of shoulder pain were collected, as well as physical examinations were performed.
Main Outcome Measurements The following variables were measured: weekly training hours, the ROM (rotational and elevation) of the shoulders, the ratio of the isometric muscle power, special physical examination tests for impingement syndrome, rotator cuff malfunction, and biceps pathologies.
Results 30% of the children reported shoulder pain. The following risk factors were common: decreased elevation and internal rotation, increased external rotation and the disbalance of the rotational muscle strength. Children with positive impingement tests had significantly decreased elevation in both shoulders comparing with children with negative physical examination tests (172° - 179°). There was a significantly decreased elevation of the left infraspinatus (176°-179°) and teres minor (177°-179°) and the right teres minor (176°-179°).
Conclusions There is evidence that the swimmer’s shoulder also exists and shows a relationship with the deviation of the ROM in children who swim actively. It is recommended the optimization of the ROM and the muscle balance of the shoulder muscles. This can only be achieved by performing regular and proper stretching exercises, which therefore can play a huge role to prevent the swimmer’s shoulder.
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