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I have early stages of arthritis in left shoulder. If I went swimming using my right arm is that bad

I have arthritis in my left shoulder and been swimming using my right arm and flippers for 30 mins in sea. Could I be damaging either shoulder. Early signs of arthritis in shoulder


  • Shell_H
    Shell_H Administrator Posts: 541

    Hi @RobynBrand - welcome to the online community!

    I see you've got arthritis in your shoulder and you're wondering if going swimming and using your arm and shoulder would damage it in any way.

    Generally speaking, the answer is "no". Exercise is very good for arthritis - it strengthens your muscles around your joints and stretches them, which can prevent pain from stiffness and promote long term mobility. This is a qualified "no", however, as everyone is different. If the actions on swimming cause you a lot of pain in your shoulder the odds are good it may be causing damage and you should stop and work on something else to build up strength and muscle tone first, before graduating to swimming.

    Swimming is, however, one of the activities we recommend for arthritis as the water helps cushion your movements and releave some of the strain on your joints, so odds are good it will be fine. Do take note of how you feel when you swim and afterwards - as well as the following day. You may have to be kinder to yourself the next day if you over-exert slightly, as this can make it harder to do anything after exercise.

    Have a look at this information:

    I hope this helps! Do have a look around the rest of the community and join in any discussion you find interesting - we always welcome new members 😊

    It's lovely to meet you!


  • RobynBrand
    RobynBrand Member Posts: 5

    Do you think it’s better to swim with just my good arm and flippers

  • RobynBrand
    RobynBrand Member Posts: 5

    Also if I use one arm for swimming am I likely to wear it down over time

  • Shell_H
    Shell_H Administrator Posts: 541

    I have to admit that I have not tried, nor do I want to, swimming with just one arm. I would swim using both arms, and if you experience pain in either shoulder then take it slower and build up muscle4s. As I said, exercise is good for arthrtis, and it is widely recommended that we exercise our affected joints. If you can swim with both shoulders with minimal or no pain then you should do so, being aware of how you feel and how it is affecting your body.

    If you use just one arm I owuld imagine you're more likely to end up with lopsided muscles - one shoulder and arm built up more than the other. This isn't an ideal situation. Arthritis is not a "wear and tear" condition - it is not caused by excessive wear, despite what might have been said in the past. Recent research has shown this not to be the case, so do not worry about this. Concentrate on what causes you pain and exercising within your ability and means. Exercise is good, and if you can do it you should.

    I hope this helps.


  • RobynBrand
    RobynBrand Member Posts: 5

    Are you a dr or have any expertise in this area

  • Shell_H
    Shell_H Administrator Posts: 541

    Hi @RobynBrand,

    I am not a doctor, I am a volunteer moderator for this community. I do have arthritis myself and also have extra experience of other people with arthrtis, but that is it. The information I have given you is the general advice given to everyone with arthritis. Exercise is one of the things people with arthritis are suggested to do, whiloe being aware that if it hurts we should stop.

    If you would like personalised advise I suggest you go to a physiotherapist or as your GP or specialist dorctor.

    All the best


  • Hi @RobynBrand

    Thank you for posting on the forum, I am sorry to hear that you have arthritis in your left shoulder and you’re wondering about damaging your shoulder with swimming.

    It sounds like Shell has given you a comprehensive reply with some good links. I would re-iterate that the best person to see regarding exercise and to obtain a tailor made programme of exercise would be a physiotherapist. The physiotherapist can show you ways to help to reduce your shoulder pain and ways to improve the way your shoulder is working, with various types of exercise and other therapeutic techniques. 

    If at any point you would like to have a chat with us on the helpline: 0800 5200 520 (weekdays 9am-6pm) please do give us a call.

    Best wishes


    Helpline Advisor


  • Baloo
    Baloo Member Posts: 63

    Good to hear your exercising @RobynBrand you don't want to lose the strength in your arm. I wonder whats wrong with it. I hope you can solve it faster than it gets worse. I have a shoulder problem too but its with everyday activity and definitely hurts. If I pick the wrong movement it risks a trauma to the shoulder tendon, then my arm and hand will swell up and I won't be able to use them.

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