Triathlon’s shoulder (also known as swimmer’s shoulder) is a term that is used a lot, and not only in the world of athletes. But what does it really mean? What is involved in creating the pain and what can be done to help alleviate it?
What is triathlon’s shoulder?
The medical terminology for triathlon’s shoulder is “impingement syndrome” which is a fancy term to say that there is a narrowing in the space between the acromion (the most top bony part of the shoulder) and the humeral head (connecting the arm to the shoulder). This narrowing causes a “pinch” in the tendons going through that space: usually the rotator cuff (supraspinatus and subscapularis in the picture below) and/ or the biceps.
What causes it?
It occurs more often in athletes and labourers that perform repetitive motions which can in the long term cause this sort of overuse injury. The typical sports include but are not limited to triathlon, swimming, baseball, volleyball, and racket sports. Jobs involving repeated overhead activities such as painters, carpenters, and electricians are also more at risk.
The recommended hand on approach involves the patient, the chiropractor and the coach (if sport-related injury) to combine their efforts together using:
Manual chiropractic adjustments
ART: Active Release Techniques muscle work
Laser IV therapy
Technique evaluation and correction
Proper rehabilitation exercises
Finding the cause of what initiated the pain is very important in order to avoid reproducing the same injury in the future. This does not mean stopping the activity involved with that movement but rather finding a new pattern that will allow to achieve the same goal without putting yourself at risk for injuries. This process works best with everyone working together as a team to get you out of pain and back into doing whatever activity or work you want or need to do.
The following video shows what a normal shoulder full range of motion should look like. Please only perform this exercise to your own tolerance. This is not a treatment.
If you have been experiencing shoulder pain and would like a consultation, contact the clinic on 057 8678904.
Gaelic sports usually cause athletes to work their hips mainly in an externally rotated position due to the demands of the sports. This can cause a significant decrease in hip internal rotation as the body will compensate due to the increasing demand on the hips to open in one direction over the other.
Why does this matter?
This matters because having such imbalances will cause your body to create more compensatory patterns which can eventually lead to decreased performance or injury.
If you have limited hip internal rotation, then eventually the way you walk and move might be changed.
For example, you could start walking with your feet and toes pointing out more as your hips will not have the full movement to allow your foot to go back to a neutral position. The foot and ankle will then no longer be functioning in their optimal patterns and might start overpronating to allow you to keep walking undisturbed. The knee may also start picking up the slack for both the hip and ankle which could put more stress on the knees and the body as a whole. With every step, you are reinforcing these patterns which can eventually lead to pain or injuries.
So to make it simple, the most common injuries related to poor hip mobility are:
Low back pain
Hamstring and Groin strain
But this is not to say that your upper back may not be affected by this as well. It all depends on how you move. Take a squat for example, if your hip mobility is limited your body is going to find other ways to move through the position you are putting it through. We already went through the changes in the lower extremity when talking about walking. Now let’s talk about your back: if your hips can’t sit through the motion needed, your lower back might start rounding to allow you to go lower, and then your upper back might overextend to allow you to keep looking forward while squatting down.
Those are just examples, you understand by now it’s all about your own body patterns and whether your compensations are putting you more at risk for injury.
One good exercise to work on hip mobility is the 5 months hip & pelvis separation from Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilisation (DNS). This exercise helps your body work on hip and pelvic movements. Giving you more motion but also more control in those areas. It is important to work on both mobility and stability so that all increases in range of motions and overall movements still allow you proper control to avoid risk injuries.
During this exercise, make sure to keep pressure through the downward knee and foot, as well as the downward elbow throughout.
If you want more information or have any aches or pain, contact the clinic on 057-8678904 to see how we can help.
Check out Shane’s XIX Podcast Interview discussing all things Golf Injuries, Rehab & Performance
▫️How he got to work on the PGA & European Tour ▫️Whats it like working with tour pros? ▫️The changes he’s seen in the past 10 years ▫️What it takes to be a tour pro? ▫️What amateurs can do to improve their game?
Shane’s talk from the Irish Strength Institute 2018 Symposium
“Building Better Senior Golfers”
Discussing a number of aspects including ▪️ Common Injuries seen in Senior Golfers ▪️ Assessing & Treating the Senior Golfer ▪️ Rehab Applications including Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization, McGill Method and Functional Range Conditioning ▪️ The Importance of a Warm Up