An Updated Review of the Epidemiology of Swimming Injuries

PM R. 2021 Sep;13(9):1005-1020. doi: 10.1002/pmrj.12503. Epub 2020 Nov 28.


Objective: To carry out a systematic review to update the scientific evidence on the incidence and prevalence of injuries in the swimming discipline, as well as the location, type, and mechanism of the injuries, and to assess whether studies are meeting methodological recommendations for data collection and injury surveillance. TYPE: Analytical-Systematic review.

Literature survey: The databases of PubMed and Sportdiscus were used to search for studies that describe the epidemiology of injuries in adult swimmers between 2010 and March 2020.

Methodology: Of the 864 articles identified, 14 studies were finally included in this review. The methodological quality of the studies was analyzed with the Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (STROBE) scale and Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines were followed.

Synthesis: The results showed a high prevalence of shoulder, knee, and lower back injuries among swimmers due to overuse. These injuries were mainly short-term tendon muscles; there were reported data differences between genders.

Conclusions: Despite the publication of an injury surveillance single and multisport events document and a consensus on data collection and injury surveillance in swimming, there are huge methodological limitations that do not allow firm conclusions. As such, more epidemiological studies following guidelines for data collection and injury surveillance are needed to establish differences by gender, age group, and swimming stroke.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Swimming*