Common Injuries with Golfing
Physical Therapy in Canton can help prevent and rehabilitate Golf Injuries!
Golf offers many health benefits including cardiovascular fitness and increased muscle tone that you get from walking 18 holes, as well as the enjoyment from being out in nature.
While a round of golf can seem like a leisurely walk in the park there’s still the potential for a wide range of injuries that can befall any player.
Most common injuries are likely due to inadequate preparation in the off-season and immediately prior to a golf outing.
To reduce the risk of injury it is important to have a sport specific preparation program.
During the winter and spring as well as during the golf season, golfers need to focus attention on mobility & strength, and strengthening their core muscles to provide stability to the spine.
Regular aerobic exercise also can help reduce the negative effects of fatigue during golfing.
Prior to golfing, is important to perform a light dynamic warm-up. This includes gentle short duration stretches for the entire body from the neck to the ankles. Click here to see my Golf Warm-up.
Finally, the importance of a proper swing cannot be over emphasized as repetitive use of incorrect technique predisposes even the best conditioned golfer to injury.
Here are some of the most common injured regions:
Low Back: The lumbar spine is in jeopardy of taking on the stress of too much motion and too much pressure if a golfer has poor hip and thoracic mobility. The lumbar spine is supposed to be a source of strength and stability during the golf swing and should not be called upon to offer mobility. Oftentimes a golfer will be too tight in the thoracic spine and the hips which leads to compensations for this loss of mobility by over uterlizing the lumbar spine, which leads to injury. In addition, the core muscles are not emphasized in most home exercise programs leading to overall a general inability to control the forces being given to the lumbar spine. The best preventative measure is to put the work in on improving thoracic and hip mobility as well as working on core stabilization exercises that include all muscles that help to support the lumbar spine to include the abdominals, obliques, glutes, and don’t forget the pelvic floor!
Shoulder: Shoulder pains are common in golfing. The shoulder has a high degree of mobility and relies on a coordinated muscle action to function properly. As a result, strains are tears of the rotator cuff muscles can occur with the motion of the golf swing. In many cases, an underlying rotator cuff injury may be present that is aggravated by repetitive hard swings. The best preventative measure is to work on rotator cuff strengthening exercises along with strengthening of the muscles that attached to the shoulder blades. Golfers should have a specific shoulder strengthening program during the winter and early spring for an adequate training affect prior to starting the golf season. Again, technique is important in the prevention of shoulder injuries and most golfers would benefit from a golf swing analysis.
Elbow: Tendinitis of the elbow affects many golfers although tendinitis on the inner part of the elbow, the medial epicondylitis, has been designated as “golfers elbow” it is just as common for golfers to experience tendinitis on the outer part of the elbow which is lateral epicondylitis or aka “tennis elbow.” These injuries are due to overuse. Gentle stretches and in some cases braces can be helpful for prevention and treatment of these injuries.
Knee: Variety of knee injuries are seen in golfers and in some cases these are due to walking over uneven ground or losing footing in the rough. In other cases, these are due to the rotational forces that are transmitted from the lower extremities to the trunk during a swing. Common injuries include ligament sprain’s and injury to the shock absorbing cartilage of the knee, the meniscus.
As with most golfing injuries, proper preparation can help to prevent them. Along with the core and shoulder strengthening program, golfers should work on lower extremity conditioning. This includes stretching and strengthening exercises for the hip muscles, the quadriceps, and the hamstrings. In addition, balance exercises should be incorporated into a comprehensive conditioning program.
Prior to hitting the course, a warm up to include then head, shoulders, upper back/trunk, low back, hips, and legs is imperative.
As with any sports injury, it is important that we do not ignore pains experienced during golfing.
If you have an injury, it is important to initially rest the injured joint, apply ice and compression, and monitor your symptoms. Playing through an injury may lead to further injury. If the symptoms do not resolve with rest and ice or there is severe pain, deformity, or inability to bear weight you should seek medical attention.
If you are experiencing aches and pains in any of your body during or after golf, BodyFit Physical Therapy can help.
We offer a comprehensive evaluation called The Golf Physical, which features the Titleist Performance Institute 16-point physical assessment as well as an extensive physical therapy evaluation.
The Golf Physical can highlight the regions that may be causing you risk of injury and/or a less than desirable golf game.