Golf is a popular sport played worldwide. The increasing number of hours we spend on the golf course or driving range means an increased risk of injury. The golf swing is indeed a complex activity involving a series of coordination movement. To achieve a “perfect” golf swing requires almost a perfect co-operation between our brain (mind e.g. visualization), neurological (sympathetic and para-sympathetic) and musculoskeletal systems.
During the process of developing our perfect golf swing, we may encounter injuries of our spine, shoulder, elbow, wrist and hand most commonly due to overuse and poor technique. Other causes of golf injuries include:
- Incorrect grip and equipment
- Club hitting the ground
- Over swinging
- Excessive spinal rotation or hyper extension
Common Golf Injuries:
- Shoulder: Rotator Cuff tendinopathy
- Elbow: inner elbow tendinopathy or Golf Elbow (i.e. medial epicondylitis if inflamed)
- Wrist: ligament sprain or tendinopathy
i) Bone fracture (the club hits the ground)
ii) Hypothenar Hammer Syndrome: blood vessel enlargement due to club repeatedly hitting the palm
- Knee and hip pain: pivoting and weight shift (e.g. leading knee takes 4.5 to 5 times of your body weight)
- Spinal: Rotational stress causes thoracic and lower back pain
How can Physiotherapy help?
Screening: The initial session will include physiotherapy assessment to identify the physical diagnosis, cause(s) of injury and generate a treatment/management plan. Occasionally, you may be referred for further radiological investigation. All physiotherapists are competent to treat all golf related injuries. For highly competitive players, sometimes they may see a musculoskeletal or sports physiotherapist who has special interest in golf for more specific advice such as biomechanical/movement analysis or to discuss prophylatic strategies.
Treatment: Commonly used modalities are manual therapy, soft tissue release, postural and handling advice, acupuncture/dry needling, shock wave and strength and conditioning program.
Physical Conditioning: By identifying the cause(s) of golf injury and any physical restriction, a specific exercise program including: flexibility, strengthening, power and core control exercises will be generated in order to improve your movement pattern therefore performance.
Prevention and Education: We can advise on your specific injury prevention warm-up/cool down program, “return-to-golf” rehabilitation program as well as postural and biomechanics related issue.
Recommendations for golf injuries prevention:
- Make stretching your pre-golf routine.
- Strengthen your forearm muscles.
- Work on your core muscles to improve control and coordination
- Practice relaxation and visualization
- Practice your golf swing systematically, including gradually increasing your training volume (e.g. driving range) with adequate rest days
- Consult professionals to refine your technique and select the correct equipment. For more competitive players, use of video visual-biofeedback and bio mechanics analysis can fine tune their swing.
- Be sun-smart.
- Take care of your back while lifting your buggy out of the car!
Golf is a good walk spoiled – Mark Twain