Introduction: Competitive swimmers exert repetitive stress on their bodies and this may contribute to injury development among these athletes. Prior research has demonstrated high rates of shoulder pathologies in swimmers, however, to date, the most common swimming-associated diagnoses in adolescent patients have not been well delineated.
Methods: A retrospective review of our institution’s medical record system was performed to identify pediatric and adolescent patients who were seen in our clinic for swimming injuries. Following chart review, injury-related data were then compiled for each patient including aggravating factors, diagnosis, diagnostic workup, and treatment protocol.
Results: Among our cohort of 90 patients (mean age: 14.4 years) with swimming-related injuries, patellofemoral dysfunction (17), shoulder impingement (14), and rotator cuff pathology (14) were the most common diagnoses. Physical therapy was the most regularly prescribed treatment for swimming-associated injuries as well as rest from swimming and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Surgery is rarely indicated for swimming-associated injuries in this population (5 patients).
Conclusions: Common injury locations for pediatric and adolescent swimmers include the shoulder, knee, and lower back. Providers should be aware of the common diagnostic evaluation modalities (x-rays and MRI) and treatment options (physical therapy, rest from swimming) for patients with swimming-associated injuries.
Keywords: overuse; pediatric; sports medicine; shoulder.