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Water Sport Injuries and How to Prevent

| July 25, 2013 | Reply

Water Ski

Canadians Love Their Water!

Canadians are crazy!  Why?  Who else wakeboards on the May long week-end when there is still some ice in the middle of the lake!  Our kids are swimming in the lake, and they have blue lips they are so cold, but do they want to get out? No…they are Canadian, it is in their blood! Other than hypothermia, there are a variety of injuries that can happen with water sports. 

What a Physio Has to Say About Water Sports

First and foremost everyone should be wearing a life jacket and kids should be kept a close watch on.  When it comes to the water sports that you are pulled behind a boat (slalom skiing, wake boarding, knee boarding), the stress on your shoulders from the pull at take off until the boat is up on step is rather large. Making sure you stretch your shoulders and neck out before you start.  If your muscles are tight and sore to begin with, you are at an increased risk of pulling those muscles.  Swimmers are notorious for having bad shoulders.  The increased flexibility required for butterfly stroke or front crawl puts them at risk for impingement syndrome. Impingement syndrome is one of the most common shoulder problems because it occurs when the shoulder is raised above 90 degrees. The top of your humerus (arm) compresses your rotator cuff against your collar bone impinging that muscle.  This causes pain and a decreased range of motion in your shoulder.

What can you do to help?

Exercises that strengthen your scapular muscles (muscles in between your shoulder blades) and stretching your pectoral muscles (chest) will help to prevent this in some cases.  If you do notice you are having repeated shoulder pain with raising your shoulder(s) consult your Physiotherapist.


Stretches From a Physiotherapist

Neck Stretch Stand with shoulders back and down (proper posture).  Looking straight ahead tilt your head to the side attempting to put your ear to shoulder.  To increase stretch you can use your hand to assist.  DO NOT pull hard, only add light tension.
Shoulder Stretch Cross Flexion Stretch: cross your one arm in front of your body at shoulder height. Use your other hand to assist you in flattening your arm to your chest until you feel a stretch in the back of your shoulder. 
Tricep Stretch Triceps stretch: Bring your arm up beside your ear; bend at the elbow so your hand is trailing down your back.  Use your other hand and place it on your bent arm at the elbow and gently pull your bent arm towards your ear until you feel a stretch in your triceps.
Pectoral Stretch External Rotation stretch: Keep palm of hand against door frame and elbow bent at 90 degrees. Turn body away from fixed hand until a stretch is felt.
Foam Roller Pectoral Stretch Pectoral Stretch: Lay on your back with the length of the foam roller down your spine.  Rest your head on the top of the foam roller to support your neck. Start with your hands at your side with your palms up.  Slowly raise your hands above your head.  When you feel a stretch, stop and hold it for 30 seconds.  Then continue raising your arms and stopping to hold the stretch every time you feel one.
Scapular Stabilization Scapular Stabilization: Using a resistive band or tube secure the middle to a door or around a pole at chest height.  Holding the two ends take a step or two back from the door until you feel tension in the band. By squeezing your shoulder blades together try to bring your elbows towards your back.  Make sure your shoulders stay back and level (proper posture). Do 3 sets of 10-12 reps.  If you are getting tired stop, doing exercises improperly does not help.   
Scapular Stabilization-Back view Back view



Capilano Rehab Centre | Physical Therapy Capilano physical therapists have provided state-of-the-art physical therapy, sports physiotherapy, back pain, WCB, accident, whiplash and injury rehab to clients in Edmonton for over 10 years.

5832 Terrace Rd Edmonton, AB. T6A 3Y8

(780) 466-1104


Category: Active Living, Healthy Living, Impingement syndrome, Physiotherapy

About the Author ()

I am Capilano Rehab Centre’s Community Care Coordinator. I have been with Capilano Rehab for 9 years primarily as a Physio Assistant, but also as a Receptionist. I have a Physical Education Degree from the University of Alberta, which I will eventually use when my two young children are grown up. In the mean time I am enjoying helping people in the Community through my role as Community Care Coordinator and bringing awareness to how a Physiotherapist can help you get back to the activities you love the most!

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