Swimming hurts!

As I posted a few days ago, my husband and I have recently taken up jogging and it's going well. No aches and pains after each session :)

I'm a nanny and the little girl I look after has swimming lessons so I decided I would swim while she has her lesson. I think I swam for about 20 minutes yesterday. I've heard that swimming is the best thing for people with RA what with the weightlessness and everything. Well this morning I hurt! My fingers are swollen, my knee and should both hurt and my confidence in swimming has taken a nose dive! I suspect some of it is sore muscles but certainly my knee is protesting strongly! I thought swimming would be better than anything other exercise. Am I swimming too forcefully? If I build up will it hurt less over time? I refuse to quit after only one attempt so advise would be great! Thanks :)

12 Replies

  • I used to go swimming but found I could no longer swim as I did, my knees would be terribly painful during and after, also some of my fingers. I can only do breast stroke and not a strong swimmer anyway. I told my old Rhuemy this and she just said you don't do breaststroke legs. I tried flip floping but to no avail, so I was told just to walk from one side to the other which was good for the knees (though very boring!) I also did bicycle leg movents hanging/leaning off the sides, which was okay. So it was more like an exercise class really, but doesn't replace what you really want to do - swim! Sorry I can't be of more help. It's very frustrating I know. Smiler x

  • I can't do the breaststroke legs anyway :p I do breaststroke arms and doggy paddle legs. I always have so thanks for giving me a reason to continue! Maybe I'll try being less determined and do fewer lengths next time

  • hahaha. I just read this (and yes, I am stalking you back!). So it sounds like we swim the same! Well, just take it easy on yourself. Pretend you're teaching your 80-year old great gran to swim! :)

  • Build up slowly. If you have active inflammation then all the joints will be pushed a little bit out of shape so you don't want to risk damage by working weak muscles too hard. Swimming is great exercise, but it also works the muscles rather well and maybe stretches them more than with jogging so just take care.

  • Hi, I love swimming & used to swim for a club but unfortunately I can't anymore. I go for a gentle swim, I find Aqua classes more beneficial & I used to do Aqua Zumba which was great fun ( the instructor left to have a baby). If I overdo the swimming I suffer badly for days,so for me it's just not worth it. Give the Aqua classes a go or gentle swim.

  • I was told to only swim on my back as I have problem with my neck and shoulders and swimming on front, your neck is not straight?! Again this is only what the medical profession said. Hydrotherapy is better for body as water is warm and can help with movement, whereas swimming pool is cold which can aggregate pain in joints. All I know is that I do ache after swimming!

  • I noticed that my neck was sore as I think I was doing the mum swim! I might invest in some goggles and then I can put my face in the water. Back stroke was definitely more comfortable though

  • I used to be a breast-stroker, but was warned against it after a hip replacement last year. I didn't want to give up swimming, so I had one lesson to remind me/teach me how to do crawl, and then taught myself the rest. I really recommend it: your body is aligned, there's little or no pressure on your knees, back and neck, and it's much more efficient and comfortable. I taught myself an adapted breaststroke too, with knees kept together and pushing back... Being able to switch strokes every length or two means that you regularly swap the muscle groups you are using, and don't get so tired. I now tend to do 2 crawl, 1 adapted breast, 1 back (if the pool isn't busy) and can swim a good distance over 30-45 mins. Little and often is the way to start and probably the best way to go on: every other day seems to be optimum. If my tendinitis is flaring, I can get sore wrists and shoulders, and if I do too much I can get sore everything (!) but generally, even when swimming hurts, it still means I hurt less at other times. I really feel it if I miss a few sessions.

    Oh, you do need to get yourself some goggles - they help backache/neck pain enormously!

    I hope you can make swimming work for you. It makes SUCH a difference to me - my mental health as well as my physical health. :)

  • I would keep going, but take it easy. I do a weird butterfly/dog paddle that is pretty easygoing. I thought I was "swimming" until I did a more or less proper front crawl (I don't like to put my face in the water). Well, I only did one length of my pool before I really felt it. So I would suggest flailing about in the water and enjoying buoyancy over training for the summer Olympics! :)

    Definitely don't give up but do listen to your body. It's important to listen when it's a whisper or a moan so your body doesn't feel the need to SCREAM at you (ie flare). I have a tendency to wait for the scream, but nobody likes screaming, least of all this mom! :) It's a work in progress.

    I rode my stationary bike for 5 minutes before jumping in the pool on Tuesday to "work up a sweat" (ahahahahaha). My bum cheeks were actually sore from sitting on the bike seat for FIVE MINUTES! So clearly I am out of shape. But it doesn't mean I won't get back on the bike, 5 minutes at a time.

    Gentle hugs.

  • I started swimming 11 months ago and built up very slowly I did breast stroke arms and kinda just kicked my legs up and down or more often just dragged the right one along with me, 😉 it really did help my mobility but I had to be sensible and just take my time, I really miss it I haven't been for 2 months as I got a skin infection on my eczema while on holiday in Egypt, but I am hoping to go back soon

    Jen x

  • I think "swimming" is a bit misleading for what is useful to do in the water. I was lucky enough to have proper hydrotherapy in a heated pool (a couple of degrees higher than your normal swimming pool) with a trained physio and I really did very little, if any, actual swimming. It was about gentle movements of legs and arms - some while standing or walking, and some while floating (using floaty aids). Most swimming strokes will stress a sore body. If I do get into a pool now, I do things like arm and leg circles under water, floating on my back and moving my arms out sideways and back, etc. I really have to avoid the temptation to swim lengths if I am already sore or stiff. I do find that even ordinary heated pools aren't really warm enough to be comfortable for exercises though. In some places where there is a childrens pool, that can be a bit warmer than the adult pool.

  • So today is swimming again and I'm really scared it's going to hurt again and I'll suffer for the rest of the week. Is there anything you can wear whilst swimming to support joints? My mum said there's something you can put on your hands to made kind of a scoop rather than have loose fingers. I searched online but nothing came up.

You may also like...