Dr. Mark E. Pruzansky
Dr. Jason S. Pruzansky
975 Park Avenue New York, NY 10028

Swimming Injuries

What are Swimming and Diving Injuries?

Swimming is one of the most popular low-impact fitness exercises. However, professional or elite swimmers usually train by swimming more than five miles a day, requiring a lot from the elbow and wrist joints. Divers face risks of inadvertent contact with boards and platforms.

Types of Swimming Injuries

There are two types of swimming injuries:  acute and chronic.

Acute injuries are somewhat rare in swimming because it is not a contact sport and it takes place in a body of water at moderately slow speeds. Regardless, acute, painful muscle strains can occur if there is not adequate warm-up or overuse, and hard wall contact during turns. Divers can injure their upper extremities while missing a dive and making contact with the board or platform. The flat hand with overuse may cause wrist pain.

Overuse injuries are a consequence of fatigue and the swimmer not developing precise stroke techniques that can put undue stress on a joint or muscle.

Clinical Presentation  and Causes of Swimming and Diving Injuries

The clinical presentation of the swimming injuries will depend on the type of injury and the part of the arm affected. Swimming and diving injuries related to the hand, wrist and elbow occur after an obvious mishap, or from training techniques requiring further review. Pain in the elbows, forearms, and wrists can be strains related to overtraining and form during the pull and exit phases of swimming. The flat hand can similarly place strain on the wrist in diving.

Treatment Options

Treatment for swimming injuries will depend on the injury and how severe it is. In the case of acute injuries, the best treatment is to apply the R.I.C.E principle. In case of injuries caused by overuse, it is very important to consider reevaluation of the training program and form. Physical therapy is an option as is cross training for strength and coordination.


The best ways to prevent injuries are to warm up properly before swimming and for a swimmer to participate in strength and conditioning programs.

Strength training should involve the entire kinetic chain and focus on the elbow and forearm musculature in response to elbow and wrist disorders. It is important to gradually increase the intensity and length of swims to avoid overtraining.

If You Believe You Have a Swimming Injury, Contact HandSport Surgery Institute

Please contact us as soon as possible to schedule an appointment with our talented team. People who have been hurt while swimming should be evaluated to try to hasten healing and reduce further injury and mobility issues.

If you have been injured, it’s important to be evaluated by a highly skilled professional. Call Drs. Mark and Jason Pruzansky at 212-249-8700 to schedule an appointment and obtain an accurate diagnosis.