Pressure Related Injuries With Freediving
Many of the freediving injuries include pressure-related injuries. This can cause pain and damage to the body’s tissues. Freedivers commonly use the term “squeeze” to refer to a barotrauma.
Mask squeeze occurs when a freediver’s mask is not equalized properly on descent. The soft tissues underneath the mask (especially around the eyes) swell and become discolored, and blood spots may appear in the whites of the eyes.
Ruptured Ear Drum
If a freediver misses an equalization, or cannot equalize and continues to descend past the point of pain, the eardrum can become perforated. This can result in sudden, sharp pain in your ear, pus or blood drainage from the ear, hearing loss, tinnitus or vertigo.
Middle Ear Squeeze
Upon descent, if there is an obstruction in the Eustachian tube, a freediver may be unable to achieve equalization. This creates a vacuum in the middle ear space and a leakage of fluid and blood in the middle ear. This can cause a feeling of fullness in the ear, similar to feeling as if you cannot get water out of your ear, along with muffled hearing or hearing loss.
It is caused by being unable to equalize the pressure inside any of the four pairs of sinuses in our skull. It can cause pain or pressure in the forehead, teeth, cheeks, or eyes, and may cause the nose to bleed.
They are commonly caused by extending the neck at deep depths, whether it is looking for the bottom weight at the end of the line on descent or looking up to the surface on ascent. You’ll see blood in your sputum, feel a tickle in your throat, or feel the urge to cough when you take a full inhale.
Lung squeezes can happen after a freediver reaches their residual volume of their lungs, usually between 30-45m. Symptoms of a lung squeeze can include chest pain, shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing, dizziness, weakness. The freediver might cough up blood or pink foam.
The deeper you freedive, the higher the risk of injury runs. Have you had any squeezes? Share your experience and recommendations by letting us a comment !