SIR 10: What Does 15 Years of Injuries Tell Us?

Which injuries are most common...

As the title suggests, this study followed the occurrence of injuries (and a prevention program) over the course of 15 years in the Japanese national swim team. Below are some excerpts that stood out to me:

  • A lower prevalence of incidence injury is associated with swimming compared with other sports, but the prevalence of overuse injury is high. Furthermore, for swimming the incidence of injury is higher during training than during competition.

  • In this study, injuries were defined as overuse injuries as follows: pain that occurred spontaneously without any obvious traumatic events, which led to difficulties in sports activities, and resulted in restriction of the swimmer’s participation for at least 1 day beyond the day of injury.

  • A downward trend was observed for lumbar injury from 2002 to 2016. The highest incidence, 33.3%, was observed in 2002. However, the incidence in 2009, the year immediately following the implementation of the lumbar injury prevention project, was the lowest at 5.6%.

  • A total of 283 injuries were recorded for the Japan national swim team from 2002 to 2016. The highest injury rate was observed for the lumbar, followed by shoulder, knee and ankle

  • The top three injuries for each swimming stroke were as follows:

  • Freestyle: lumbar, knee, shoulder;

  • Back- stroke: lumbar, shoulder, ankle;

  • Breaststroke: lumbar, shoulder, knee;

  • Butterfly: lumbar, shoulder, knee;

  • Individual medley: lumbar, shoulder and knee injury incidence was equal

  • The injury rate was significantly higher in females (52.0%) than in males

  • If swimmers perform a catch motion from the moment they enter the water with insufficient mobility of the thoracic vertebrae, impingement is likely to occur due to excessive inner rotation of the scapulobrachial joint. The backstroke swimmers may need to acquire higher thoracic vertebrae and rib cage mobility as opposed to other strokes.

  • The increase in the knee joint injury incidence became noticeable in this study for the period 2008–2010, during which the start inclination angle changed from 7.5° to 10° and with starting block. The time when the start block was introduced coincided with the period when the increase in the incidence of knee joint injuries was noted.

  • Regarding older age, findings indicate that there was no relationship between shoulder joint injury and age. In contrast, a long history of participation in swimming competitions was a risk factor for injury. In this study age was a risk factor because there was a possibility that an older age may correlate with a longer history of training load.

Injury trend analysis in the Japan national swim team from 2002 to 2016: effect of the lumbar injury prevention project