Water Polo Injuries

Water Polo Injuries

Article by Zoe Russell

Water Polo

The First Olympics Team Sport!

Did you know that water polo was the first team sport played at the Olympics? Water polo debuted at the 1900 Paris Olympics. And due to its aggressive nature, it also has a very high injury incidence. At Olympic and World Championship level, there are 14.1 injuries per 100 water polo players in a British Journal of Sports Medicine article published in 2019.

Water Polo Injuries

Water Polo injuries are mainly related to swimming injuries, ball impacts, throwing injuries or players tussles. Eye injuries are high. Concussion injuries are common. Ear injuries are at least partially reduced by protective earwear. Facial bones and dental injuries occur, yet mouthguards are optional.

Water Polo originated as an aquatic form of rugby union football and combined the unique combination of swimming and throwing.

The combinations of bursts of high-intensity activity, with lower intensity intervals, make it a physically demanding sport, and the increasingly physical nature is making a multitude of injuries for players, including:

  • Facial & Head Injuries
  • Spinal Injuries
  • Upper Extremity Injuries
  • Lower Extremity Injuries.

These injuries can be either acute (such as sprains, strains and abrasions) as well as overuse injuries (such as rotator cuff injury).

Facial Injuries

The type of injuries in this region of the body from Water Polo include:

  • Facial Contusions
  • Concussions
  • Swimmer’s Ear (Otitis Externa)
  • Ear Drum Trauma
  • Eye Injuries
  • Corneal Abrasions or Scratch to the Cornea
  • Fracture of the Eye Socket

Spinal Injuries

Water Polo players can sustain an injury to all three regions of the spine. However, injuries are most common in the Cervical (Neck) and Lumbar (Lower Back) Regions, due to the repetitive rotation of the Neck (cervical) and lower back (lumbar) regions during training and practice:

Upper Extremity Injuries

Injuries to the upper extremity that is the Shoulder, Elbow, Wrist & Hand, in Water Polo players tend to arise as a result of an overuse or a traumatic injury.

The type of injuries that Water Polo players sustain are:

Lower Extremity Injuries

Injuries to the lower extremity that is from the hip down, generally occur as a result of utilising the joints and muscles close to the end of their range.

Typically, lower limb injuries during Water Polo occur as a result of the repetitive nature of the ‘eggbeater kick” used to maintain body position in the water or generate power to perform an accurate shot or pass.

Typical injuries in Water Polo players include:

The good news is that early identification of these injuries by your physiotherapist, in conjunction with correction of technique, can help to prevent these injuries, in addition to ensuring a speedy recovery.

Your physiotherapist is the best person to speak to in regards to your injury. They will not only help you recover, but also assist you in advising the best form of exercise to undertake to maintain Water Polo specific Strength and Conditioning, as well as fitness so that you recover in the fastest possible time.

Arm Pain Causes

Arm pain and injuries are widespread. Arm pain can occur as a result of either sudden, traumatic or repetitive overuse. The causes can be related to sports injuries, work injuries or simply everyday arm use.

Arm pain can be a local injury, musculoskeletal injury or could even be referred from nerves in your neck (cervical radiculopathy). This can result in neck-arm pain.

Causes of Arm Pain by Region

Causes of Arm Pain by Structure

Neck-Related Arm Pain

Shoulder-Related Arm Pain

Elbow-Related Arm Pain

Wrist-Related Arm Pain

Hand-Related Arm Pain

Muscle-Related Arm Pain

Other Sources of Arm Pain

Common Causes of Arm Pain

The most common sources of arm pain include shoulder painwrist pain and elbow pain.

Referred Arm Pain

As mentioned earlier, arm pain can be referred to from another source. Cervical radiculopathy is a common source of referred arm pain. Cervical radiculopathy will not respond to treatment where you feel the arm pain. However, it will respond positively to treatment at the source of the injury (e.g. your neck joints).

Professional assessment from a health practitioner skilled in diagnosing both spinal-origin and local-origin (muscle and joint) injuries (e.g. your physiotherapist) is recommended to ensure an accurate diagnosis and prompt treatment directed at the arm pain source.

Arm Pain has Diverse Causes.

The causes of your arm pain can be extensive and varied. Due to this diversity, your arm pain should be assessed by a suitably qualified health practitioner to attain an accurate diagnosis, treatment plan and implementation specific to your arm pain.

What Arm Pain is Associated with a Heart Attack?

Left-arm pain can be an early sign of a life-threatening cardiac issue. Based on this, a professional medical assessment that involves an accurate history, symptom analysis, physical examination and diagnostic tests to exclude a potential heart attack is important to exclude this potentially life-threatening source of arm pain.

For more information, please consult with your health practitioner, call an ambulance on 000, or visit a hospital emergency department to put your mind at ease.

Good News. Most Arm Pain is NOT Life-Threatening.

Luckily, life-threatening arm pain is far less likely than a local musculoskeletal injury. Arm pain caused by a localised arm muscle, tendon or joint injury should be assessed and confirmed by your health practitioner before commencing treatment.

Arm Pain Prognosis

The good news is that arm pain, and injury will normally respond very favourably to medical or physiotherapy intervention when early professional assessment and treatment is sought. Please do not delay in consulting your healthcare practitioner if you experience arm pain.

Common Arm Pain Treatments

With accurate assessment and early treatment, most arm injuries respond extremely quickly to physiotherapy or medical care, allowing you to resume pain-free and normal activities of daily living quickly.

Please ask your physiotherapist for their professional treatment advice.