Scleroderma & Raynaud's UK (SRUK)
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Is swimming a good idea?

Hi - I've been having swimming lessons, once a week, for 6 months; my GP said it is not the best idea to go swimming when you have Raynaud's but that the decision was up to me. Whilst the other learners can get straight into the water, (which seems to be getting colder!!), I have to "inch" my way under. I just wondered how others with Raynaud's cope with swimming? Thanks.

6 Replies

Until about 4 years ago I would swim a couple of times a week, my hands were ususally blue when I got in the water, but would eventually warm up. I found one of the main problems was the freezing cold, draughty changing rooms, which would turn the whole of me blue. Have your baths any sessions for the disabled, during which they increase the temperature of the water? You may need a note from your GP to attend. I eventually decided fighting the cold was not doing me any good, and I also now have calcified ligaments in my knee and probably would find it too painful.


I asked about swimming pools at one of the local gyms - they keep the water at a certain temperature (I think it was something to do with health and safety?). I remember the last time I went to a spa, the water was warmer than I expected. Jacuzzi water is much warmer too.

Otherwise, I won't swim anymore! The idea of draughts and cool water (which feels too cold for me) doesn't appeal. If I go to spa/jacuzzi, I'd keep my bath robe and snuggly slippers close by for when I get out of the water.


i have to go swimming at work (we take the children), i love it so much its a real achievement helping a child learn to swim (the children i work with all have severe special needs).

I find it so hard though with the temprature, it hurts so much sometimes and takes hours for the colour to return to my hands, feet, lips and knees.

I dont think it is the best idea ever to go swimming but i love doing it and at the moment i dont want to have to stop doing something else i love because of raynauds.

So if you can cope with it hurting and love doing it then i would do it, although be very careful about it!!!

my top tips are to: wear cloths as well as a swimming costume, have a warm shower straight away (not too hot as it may cause chill blanes, it does in me anyway), dont take ages about getting changed (the sooner dry warm cloths are on the better), always wear gloves after, have a warm drink and food after, and dont do anything else which will cause a really bad raynauds attack for the rest of the day.



It's a real tricky one this - I think the main problem is getting cold when you get out of the water. It's a pity you can't magic yourself into the pool and then back out into warm clothes!! I wonder if some of the gloves that divers wear might be useful - my partner dives and he gave me some to try on. It might be worth looking into. I think it would be a shame if you could not carry on - particularly if you enjoy it. You could always try and persuade one of the lifeguards to wait at the poolside with a heated towel for you after your swim!!


My Raynaud's is very mild. I am a regular swimmer (on a typical week I swim about 4k). Once I get going I am usually ok, unless the water is very cold, which it sometimes is when they backwash it, probably the most vigorously you swim the better it is as this will get the circulation going. I have a warm to hot shower (it depends on the pool) straight afterwards. I find that when I've had a good workout, I feel warm for some time after.

I do recognise that this might not apply to those with more severe Raynaud's.


I live in FL and I am going to start scuba diving lessons soon. The water here can get cold (for me anyways) in the winter. Does anyone know what's the coldest water temperature people with Raynauds can swim in safely?


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