A common sudden injury in breaststroke swimmers is a Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) sprain, which occurs when the knee is forced inward during a breaststroke kick.
The breaststroke kick carries a whip-like motion that moves starting at the core down through the legs. Overuse, inadequate warm up, and strength and flexibility imbalance of the hip are a few of the reasons why swimmers get MCL knee sprains.
Athletes with a damaged MCL often experience pain on the inner side of the knee, followed by a lot of swelling within 24 hours.
- For sudden knee injuries, athletes should see their pediatrician or a pediatric sports medicine physician if pain and/or swelling persist after a day of PRICE treatment.
- Knee pain that comes on slowly over time can indicate other problems such as joint alignment, cartilage defects, and damage to tissues caused by repetitive movements and activity. Athletes with gradual pain problems should see their pediatrician or pediatric sports medicine physician if pain returns quickly with activity at the next session or is not gone after two weeks of forced rest.
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