TUESDAY, Nov. 7, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- A well-executed dive may look graceful and effortless, but competitive diving can take a toll on the body, a doctor warns.
"Even when a dive is perfectly executed, injuries can occur, whether traumatic or from overuse," said Dr. Nathaniel Jones, a sports medicine physician at Loyola University Health System in Maywood, Ill.
Jones noted that a springboard diver strikes the water at up to 19 miles per hour and a 10-meter platform diver at up to 37 mph. After hitting the water, their speed drops by more than 50 percent in a fraction of a second.
"These incredible velocities and impact forces are thought to be large contributors to competitive diving injuries," Jones reported in a recent issue of the journal Current Sports Medicine Reports.
"With such forces, injuries can occur not only in the setting of a dive gone wrong, but also more commonly secondary to an accumulation of exposures to repetitive forces," he added.
Training is a major factor in competitive divers' high risk of shoulder, back, elbow, wrist and other types of injuries.
Divers train an average of 40 hours a week. Springboard divers average 100 to 150 dives per day. Platform divers average 50 to 100 dives per day. This puts them at risk "for multiple individual injury opportunities and at times may lead to overuse injuries," Jones wrote.
Competitive divers also can be injured during dry-land training, such as gymnastics, strength and conditioning, trampolining and dance, he explained.
Back and shoulder injuries are common among competitive divers. Less common problems include holes in an eardrum, eye injuries, concussions, and anxiety and mental stress.
The U.S. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases has more on sports injuries.