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The Swimmer's Shoulders: Swimmers Aren't Pitchers

presented by Jay Dicharry

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Satisfactory completion requirements: All disciplines must complete learning assessments to be awarded credit, no minimum score required unless otherwise specified within the course.

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While both throwers and swimmers are often grouped as “overhead athletes,” the etiology of shoulder stress in each of these groups is vastly different. Then why are they often treated the same, you ask? In this course we’ll present the anatomy of the shoulder in light of highly repetitive environment of swimming. Competitive swimmers perform over 1 million shoulder rotations each week! If the work done in the clinic isn’t translated into stroke modifications, the tissue loads will never improve. We’ll identify specific correlations between stroke mechanics and shoulder tissue stress, and preset clinical corrections so you can optimize the skill set each swimmer brings to the water for improved technique. You’ll build an intervention skillset to address the uniqueness of the recreational and competitive amphibious overhead athlete.

Meet Your Instructor

Jay Dicharry, MPT, SCS

Jay Dicharry built his international reputation as an expert in biomechanical analysis as Director of the SPEED Clinic at the University of Virginia. Through this innovative venture, Jay was able to blend the fields of clinical practice and engineering to better understand and eliminate the cause of overuse injuries in endurance athletes. His unique approach…

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Chapters & Learning Objectives

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1. Anatomy of A Swimmer's Shoulder

In chapter 1, we’ll present the framework for the etiology of swimmer’s shoulder. Swimming is by definition and an open and closed chain sport operating in a “swimmer’s paradox.” Essentially, the dominant muscles of the upper quarter all contribute to compromised scapular and glenohumeral dyskinesia, impairing the essential mobility and dynamic stability normally present. This model will allow us to build a working vocabulary for this course.

2. Technique: Stroke Mechanics and Shoulder Loads

While you don’t have to be a swimmer, you likely treat them. We’ll break down the differences between throwing mechanics and swimming mechanics. We’ll demonstrate the location and amount of tissue compromise that occurs at each of the four phases of the swim stroke (Austrailian crawl) to enable you quantify the mechanical stress imparted each and every lap. We’ll highlight research that shows how to cue and correct swimming form to minimize stress on the shoulder exactly when and where your patient needs it.

3. Treatment: Clinical Corrections for Stroke Flaws

Swimming is a technical and complex interaction, and it's critical that we send our patients to the water with the necessary mobility, coordination, stability, and postural endurance to achieve good stroke mechanics. We’ll highlight suggestions for clinical intervention at each of the phases of the swim stroke to ensure we are building better habits for better swim form.

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