Effect of Swim Training on Physical Characteristics and Pain in Competitive Adolescent Swimmers Public Deposited

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  • March 19, 2019
  • Hibberd, Elizabeth Eve
    • Affiliation: School of Medicine, Department of Allied Health Sciences, Curriculum in Human Movement Science
  • The purpose of this research study was to determine the effect of swim training on physical characteristics, such as range of motion, posture, pectoralis minor length, and subacromial space distance, and pain and functional scales in competitive adolescent swimmers. Our secondary objective was to determine the effect of training load on changes in these physical characteristics and pain scores. Our approach was to recruit 45 competitive adolescent swimmer and 31 non-overhead athletes. Participants had a physical exam completed by the research team to measure the physical characteristics of interest at 3 time points during the season (preseason, 6-weeks into the season, and 12-weeks into the season). There were no clinically significant differences in swimmers and non-overhead athletes on posture, normalized pectoralis minor length, normalized subacromial space distance, and ROM variables. Swimmers presented with significantly more posterior shoulder tightness than non-overhead athletes. These findings indicate that factors other than swimming participation, such as school and technology use, play an important role in the adaptation of physical characteristics. Due to the training load, swimmers experience a decrease in subacromial space distance and external rotation range of motion and an increase in forward shoulder posture over the course of the training season when compared to non-overhead athletes. These adaptations may increase the risk of shoulder pain and injury in competitive swimmers. Over the course of the training season, a high percentage of swimmers reported pain with moderate disability and significant relationships were observed between total yardage performed and PENN and SPADI scores, which indicate training volume is a contributor to the development of shoulder pain and disability. The significant changes in the physical characteristics that are seen in competitive swimmers during the training season compared with changes in non-overhead athletes and the relationships between total yardage and pain scores indicate that the training season clearly has a substantial influence on physical characteristics that may lead to shoulder pain and injury.
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  • In Copyright
  • Myers, Joseph B.
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Graduation year
  • 2014

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