I keep hearing scar tissue, knots, more scar tissue and knots…. this is good news! These are fixable! What’s frustrating is to hear that most of these ailments are not from my original injury; they have developed from many years in the sport of swimming.
Teri McKeever and Milt Nelms believe that this long-term accumulated damage comes from the un-natural movements in the strokes that are taught in swimming.
The way Kipp Dye, MSPT describes it, we swimmers slowly lay down layers and layers of scar tissue from the effects of these repeated un-natural movements. The human body reaches a breaking point.
It might not be when we are 13 or 16 or 19 years old, but the longer we continue to lay these layers of scar tissue, the more certain a serious injury becomes. It becomes a question of not whether the injury will occur, but when the injury will occur.
I had the advantage of training in possibly the most health-conscious high performance program in swimming, but I got to the point in my career where the accumulation of injuries and physical breakdown was making swimming a high-risk activity. I was starting to feel like a broken-down NFL veteran, not an athlete from a sport that should, logically, be one of the safest and healthiest on the planet.
It was not just the pattern of injury after injury that became my concern, it was also the bizarre unpredictability of when these injuries would occur. The last thing I wanted was to invest my own time, and the time of my family, coaches, and advisors, to suddenly have an injury prevent me from being able to race at an important moment.
It became clear that a new journey was needed, which led to the decision to work harder and more diligently on my health than I ever worked in the pool. Reversing years of injuries in a few months is a daunting challenge, but it is a challenge that is exciting to me.
The first steps here in Boston are to break up the years of scar tissue and to clear my muscles of knots so that we can then begin to re-train my muscle fibers to allow me to function more normally. We are finding layers of scar tissue in my “non-injured” joints and on ligaments and tendons from the years of training un-natural movements that were taught to me at a young age.
So far each session has been unearthing more and more roadblocks that can be cleared to lead to better performance. Through moist heat, e-stim, ultrasound, and massage I feel that in just the few days I’ve been here I am feeling a difference in my body already!