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Old 24-08-2016, 09:29 AM
Donnadj Donnadj is offline
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Default Competitive swimming and scoliosis

Hi, my 11 year old daughter has just been diagnosed with scoliosis. She has a moderate C curve but we haven't been told any other information and it will be 2 months before she can see an orthopeadic surgeon. She is a competitive swimmer at a high level and trains approx 6 sessions a week. I have tried to find information about scoliosis online and it seems possible that there could be a connection with competitive swimming. Are there any other competitive swimmers with scoliosis that could give me some advice? Obviously, I'm worried about it getting worse as she grows and I don't want her to be doing something that will make it worse but swimming is her passion and she would be devastated to stop so if we can do something to counteract the effect of her training on the scoliosis we will do it. I've read about Scroth method or Seas, does anyone know if they are actually effective? Is there a modification to her swim training that may help? Thank you
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Old 24-08-2016, 12:23 PM
Shan Shan is offline
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Default Re: Competitive swimming and scoliosis

Hi there. My daughter is also a competitive swimmer (at National level) and had a fusion for a 70 degree thoracic curve just over three years ago. She swam at National Age a couple of months before the surgery.

Surgery was the only option for her as her curve was so severe. Our surgeon was wonderful and did a slightly shorter fusion than he would have ideally liked (T4-L1) to give her enough movement post-surgery to keep swimming. Her back is not "perfect" post-fusion (she had an S-curve, the main curve is down to about 24 degrees, from memory), but if you didn't know her, you probably wouldn't know there was anything wrong.

She was out of the pool completely for 10 weeks post-surgery, then only kicking for another couple of months after that. She was back into full training about six months after the surgery. Remarkably, just over a month after that, she again qualified for National Age and has been to Nationals in pool and open water swimming every year since that. (She has finished in the top 10 in the National Age 5km open water for the past two years and has Australian Open times in the 5km and 10km events.) She is now 16 and trains eight sessions a week, including dry land.

We don't know if the swimming caused the scoliosis. We do know her curve progressed very rapidly in the six months from her initial diagnosis to her surgery. I don't think there was anyway she could have modified her stroke, or done anything else, to help that. She now has regular physio as she gets quite sore from training, but we don't know if that's just because of her heavy workload or from the scoliosis.

We also know one other swimmer who has continued to swim post-surgery and another whose curve is not bad enough to need surgery but continues to train at a high level.

Happy for you to PM me if you would like more info. We were devastated when she was first diagnosed, as we didn't know what it would mean for the sport she loved, but have had an overwhelmingly positive experience.
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Old 24-08-2016, 01:16 PM
Donnadj Donnadj is offline
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Default Re: Competitive swimming and scoliosis

Thank you so much and congratulations to your daughter on her National times.

My son swam at National Age and open water as well this year so I know the level that your daughter must be training at and it's reassuring to know that she was able to continue at such an elite pace.

I was just told that my daughters curve is 22 degrees so I think it's mild but that she has a high risk of it progressing because of her age and bone maturity. I think we'll look at Scroth and possibly bracing to help prevent it getting worse but if it does and she requires surgery then it's a relief to know that she won't have to give up swimming. Can I ask which state you are in? I know hopefully its a long way down the track or never but if she does need surgery I hope I can find a surgeon who understands her needs for swimming as well.

We only found out about her scoliosis a week ago so we're in a bit of panic/shock mode. My daughters biggest concern was not being able to swim which she refused to even consider and I'm sure you can relate to that so thank you for putting my mind at ease a bit
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Old 24-08-2016, 01:57 PM
Shan Shan is offline
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Default Re: Competitive swimming and scoliosis

We are in SA.
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