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Swimmer’s Knee From Breaststroke: Causes and Prevention

Most individuals consider swimmer’s shoulder as the most typical swimming damage, however have you ever ever thought of knee ache as a swimming-related damage? Swimmer’s knee principally impacts breaststroke swimmers and is attributable to the pressure that the breaststroke kick locations on the medial collateral ligament (MCL).

Whereas this knee ache, additionally known as breaststroker’s knee, is widespread, it’s also preventable. Whether or not you’re new to breaststroke or are an skilled breaststroker with some knee ache, this text will assist you to keep away from swimmer’s knee.

We’ll cowl the causes of swimmer’s knee and what you are able to do to stop it, like a correct warm-up, stretching, and dryland workout routines, which might enhance the flexibleness and energy of your knees.

Why Is the Breaststroke Liable to Swimmer’s Knee?

The breaststroke is without doubt one of the most complex swim strokes to study and requires a totally totally different method than the opposite three swim types. 

One of many variations between this model and the others lies within the distribution of ahead propulsion. In breaststroke, 70% of your propulsion comes out of your legs, with the remainder of the ability coming out of your breaststroke arm pull, that means there may be extra pressure put in your legs and knees than in any of the opposite swim strokes.

The most well-liked breaststroke swimming method is the so-called whip kick movement. This method includes bending your legs towards your thighs and your thighs towards your hips at an angle of roughly 120 levels, together with your ft virtually on the floor of the water and your knees fairly shut collectively. 

Your ft then start to comb outward to get into the fitting place to push towards the water. You push with the within of your ft, performing an lively out-and-in whipping movement. Having accomplished this section, your ft might be collectively and fully relaxed through the glide section of your stroke.

The legs play a key function all through all the stroke, significantly the place of your knees. That’s the reason the knees are a breaststroker’s weak level.

What Results in Swimmer’s Knee?

A closeup of a man wearing an arena swim cap and doing the breaststroke

The knee is a hinge joint that bends and has a slight means to rotate backward and forward. The joint is the place the femur and the tibia meet. The bone of the kneecap is known as the patella. 4 main ligaments join these bones of the knee. The tip of every bone is padded by cartilage known as a meniscus. Giant adductor muscle mass just like the hamstrings and quadriceps additionally play a job within the mobility and stability of the joint.

The first issues that may result in swimmer’s knee are stability and suppleness points. If these issues are uncared for, a swimmer can expertise extra extreme types of knee damage, like dislocation or torn ligaments. These accidents may end in plenty of day out of the water — one thing you don’t need as a aggressive swimmer — and will additionally imply bodily remedy or orthopedic surgical procedure.

Knee Stability Issues 

A scarcity of stability within the kneecap performs a giant function in inflicting swimmer’s knee. In case your knee is unstable, you would be liable to growing knee ache from swimming breaststroke. The drive generated by the breaststroke kicking movement creates an unnatural lateral flexion within the knee, placing stress on ligaments, particularly in a knee that isn’t secure.

One of the crucial widespread causes of knee accidents comes from these stability difficulties. The knee’s ligaments can change into strained from overuse and the unnatural lateral flexing attributable to the breaststroke kick.

Poor stability can result in misalignment within the knee joint and might be attributable to repetitive pressure occurring over the course of a number of years. This causes harm to the floor over which the knee articulates. The meniscus and muscle can change into worn and broken resulting from a misaligned knee, inflicting additional stability and management issues.

Poor Knee and Hip Flexibility

Poor flexibility within the muscle mass that assist your knee can result in pointless pressure on the joint. Tight muscle mass are liable to damage. Not solely are you able to injure a muscle itself, however you may as well injure a ligament in case your muscle mass are usually not stretched correctly.

The quadriceps and the hamstrings are the primary muscle teams that have to be stretched to maintain your knees wholesome. Lengthy and limber muscle mass will cut back the quantity of stress your knee joint takes whereas swimming breaststroke and as a substitute enable the muscle mass to bear among the lateral motion.

One more reason many breaststrokers expertise knee ache is because of poor hip flexibility. Swimmer’s usually tend to expertise knee ache if their hips have a low stage of inside rotation through the breaststroke leg kick. That is attributable to tight hip flexors and poor hip abduction.

How You Can Stop Swimmer’s Knee

A woman stretches on a mat to prevent swimmer's knee

The easiest way to stop swimmer’s knee is to keep away from the 2 issues talked about above, that’s, poor stability and suppleness within the knee joint. You must strengthen your legs and maintain your muscle mass stretched to fight these points.

The most effective strategies to maintain your knees wholesome for breaststroke swimming are to heat up correctly, stretch usually, take heed to what your physique is telling you, and strengthen the muscle mass surrounding your knees with dryland workout routines.

Correctly Heat-Up Earlier than You Swim

​Warming up is without doubt one of the most essential facets of any athletic exercise. Nevertheless, many people overlook the need of it as a result of they’re crunched for time or too wanting to get their primary exercise underway.

Regardless of how a lot you wish to leap proper into your primary set, performing a radical warm-up to arrange your physique for train is crucial. Your pre-exercise routine ought to embody the next:

  • Dynamic stretching earlier than you begin swimming (and don’t neglect to stretch your legs!)
  • Swimming straightforward at first to get your coronary heart charge up and enhance your muscle temperature
  • Incorporating a reasonably difficult breaststroke set into your exercise earlier than you start probably the most difficult a part of your swim

Routinely Stretch After Your Exercises

Simply as a warm-up is important for athletes, so too is restoration stretching. Correct restoration stretching will assist your muscle mass heal extra shortly after strenuous use. Your muscle mass might be lengthened throughout restoration stretching, and you’ll not be as sore within the days following your exercise. 

Your restoration stretching routine ought to embody the next:

  • Use a foam curler to therapeutic massage any knots out of your muscle mass. Deal with the muscle teams surrounding your knees.
  • Take into account working towards yoga or in any other case develop a great stretching routine for the massive muscle teams in your legs. Maintain every stretch for a minimum of 20 seconds, or longer if you happen to can.
  • Static stretching is the most effective type of muscle restoration and can maintain your legs limber, enhance hip abduction, and profit your knees. Plus, this might assist if in case you have any decrease again ache.

Hearken to Your Physique

Probably the greatest methods to grasp what your physique wants is to take heed to it! In case you really feel like one thing isn’t fairly proper in your knee, then it is likely to be time to take a relaxation. Decreasing the quantity of exercise answerable for inflicting your ache is one of the best ways to help your physique in restoration.

In case you really feel irritation in your knees, to scale back swelling, you possibly can attempt icing them or taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs — keep in mind that this needs to be executed beneath medical supervision, so it’s best to all the time ask your physician first. If the ache in your knees persists, it’s best to speak to your coach or see a healthcare skilled, like a physiotherapist or sports activities drugs physician.

Bear in mind to take heed to your physique if you happen to really feel any of the next:

  • Knee ache that is still or will get worse after swimming breaststroke
  • Sudden knee ache throughout follow or an occasion
  • Knee ache outdoors of the pool that impacts your each day life

Dryland Workout routines to Enhance Knee Power

A man does a dryland exercise to prevent swimmer's knee

To forestall or cut back the aforementioned issues, beneath are three dryland workout routines we recommend together with in your weekly coaching plan. Taking the time to carry out these workout routines will strengthen the muscle mass round your knees, which decreases knee pressure from the breaststroke kick. 

These workout routines will even enhance the vary of movement in your hips and decrease legs, stopping additional knee ache. Throw in your athletic gear and prepare to strengthen these legs!

Train 1: Conventional Squats

Stand together with your heels barely wider aside than your shoulders, ensuring your toes are pointing outward at an angle of roughly 30 levels. Transfer your hips again barely with the intention to really feel the strain in your thigh muscle mass. 

Slowly bend your legs as you decrease your physique, with out dipping down out of the blue, maintaining your muscle mass tense and avoiding any lateral actions of your knees. Bend on the knees till your thighs are parallel to the bottom or, if you happen to desire, till your hips are the identical top as your knees.

Start with out utilizing any weights. Carry out the actions slowly, specializing in the muscle mass within the entrance of your thighs. Start by performing three units of 12 repetitions.

Train 2: Step-Ups 

Discover some steps, and stand in entrance of them. Step up onto the second step together with your proper leg after which deliver your left foot as much as be a part of it. Return to the beginning place shifting your proper foot first, adopted by your left. Start by performing three units of 20 reps for every leg.

Train 3: Isometric Wall Squats

Relaxation your again towards a wall after which bend your legs to kind a 90-degree angle between your again and thighs and between your knees and tibia. Ensure your again is straight, and your legs bent. Maintain the place for 30 seconds, adopted by 45 seconds of relaxation. Carry out three units.


Take Care of Your Knees!

Whereas shoulder ache and shoulder accidents are sometimes addressed by swimmers, be sure to don’t neglect your knees, particularly if you happen to’re a breaststroke swimmer. Bear in mind, knee ache is attributable to poor stability and suppleness in your legs and hips. You may enhance these points by warming up, stretching, and exercising outdoors of the pool.

You probably have any ache in your knees, bear in mind to take heed to your physique and relaxation till you’re able to get again within the water. When it’s time to get again on the market, go to the sector retailer for all of the swimwear you want.



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