n African Journal for Physical Health Education, Recreation and Dance - Incidence of shoulder injuries and related risk factors among master swimmers in South Africa

Volume 18 Number sup-1
  • ISSN : 1117-4315


Incidence of shoulder injuries have been widely reported for work-related musculoskeletal pain in the upper extremities, but there is a limited amount of research and statistics available that reports on the incidence of shoulder pain in master swimmers. This study investigated the association between literature identified risk factors and the incidence of shoulder pain in South African master swimmers. A total of 282 master swimmers completed a shoulder pain and related risk factors questionnaire during the 2010 South African Masters Swimming Championships. Statistical analysis of the data was done to determine frequencies, percentages, odds ratios and significance levels. Shoulder pain was found to be more likely in females (odds ratio (OR) = 1.3), smokers (OR = 1.8), swimmers swimming more than one stroke (OR = 1.2) and competitive swimmers (OR = 2.2). Swimmers engaging in strength training (OR = 0.78) showed a reduced incidence of shoulder pain. The calculated incidence of shoulder pain over the three-year period among the master swimmers was 62.4%. Significant statistical associations between shoulder pain and the risk factors of osteoporosis, volume of training and competitiveness were found. This high incidence of shoulder pain highlights the need for the development of interventions to prevent these injuries in master swimmers. Further research is needed to determine the incidence and causes of shoulder pain in other swimming populations in South Africa.

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