Physiotherapy Tips with Prue Stokes

with Prue Stokes, South Cottesloe Physiotherapy

During my seven years travelling as the sports physio for the Australian Open Water Swim team, the common causes of injury became very obvious, particularly of the shoulder joint.

Training overload is always the first thing I question my patients about when they present for physio treatment. Have they recently increased their volume of training? Or changed the type of training? (more pull/paddle work). A slow increase in training volume is imperative in preventing the development of shoulder pain.

Stroke faults are another contributing factor in pain development in swimming (more to come on this in the next Port to Pub newsletter!). Efficient flexibility of the shoulder joint and upper spine are necessary to achieve the ideal freestyle stroke pattern of an early catch with a high elbow.

The following tests are used as part of our South Cott Physio Swimming Screening, and are designed to assess swimming specific tests of range of movement and strength. If any deficiencies are found, specific exercises are given to correct these and to allow a better freestyle stroke pattern. 

Abduction internal rotation test:

This screening tool tests the ability of the swimmer to achieve a high elbow position in the water, thereby allowing an early ‘catch’.





Combined Elevation test:

This tests the ability of the swimmer to achieve a good streamline position in the water, thereby reducing drag. It requires good flexibility of the upper back (thoracic spine).




Thoracic rotation with arms overhead:

This test highlights whether the swimmer has enough rotation in the upper spine to allow a good body roll in the water.

If any of these tests are difficult, or you lack the ability to move easily in to these positions, please give us a call at South Cott Physio and book in for a Swimming Screening. A full assessment will be conducted, discussion of training loads/stroke will be undertaken, and exercises given to correct any stroke deficiencies.



Dec 14 2017 - 5:00pm