With the warm weather finally reaching the UK, we are slowly approaching triathlon season.
So far this year we have focused on back and lower limb pain as back, hips, knees and ankles are the most common injuries we see in runners.
However, as more and more people each year move from just running to challenging themselves with sprint, Olympic distance, half and full Ironman races, triathlons have never been more popular, but it also brings on a new set of troubles for the body.
Common complaints surround the shoulder joint;
In our day to day life we rarely need to reach overhead these days, we spend long hours at a computer so many people lose the proper mobility and flexibility needed for proper swimming strokes.
The shoulder is a complex joint; it is our most mobile joint and it’s composed of several different structures. It is also one of the most unstable joints as it only relies on small muscles to maintain its correct position. Shoulder pain varies in degree and it can range from mild pain with movement to an almost complete inability to lift the arm overhead or feeling weak.
Common causes of shoulder pain can be
- Shoulder Bursitis: inflammation of a sac of fluid that protects the tendons from sliding against the bones.
- Rotator Cuff Injuries: these include inflammation, tendinopathies and strains to the tendons of four little muscles which act as stabilisers for the head of the humerus – the top part of the arm.
- Subacromial Impingement: this is often a combination of poor biomechanics and inflammation surrounding the bursa and the rotator cuff tendons, decreasing the space in which the tendons can move developing in pain and loss of range of movement.
- Frozen Shoulder: true frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis is caused by excessive scar tissue build up, often with calcium deposits, in the tendons. It initially causes severe pain and then leads to almost a complete inability to lift the shoulder overhead.
Shoulder pain is one of the most common injuries in triathletes due to the repeated stresses placed on the shoulder girdle during the swim and often limited rest due to the high volume of training.
In the next few weeks we’ll analyse how shoulder pain develops and we’ll bring you tips on how to efficiently recover from shoulder pain and avoid future issues.