Golf is a game often associated with an older generation (and professional footballers with allot of spare time). Thus there is an impression that golf is a low impact and low injury sport. However, injury in golf is common, particularly among recreational golfers who are unused to frequent physical activity.
There are Four Phases of a Golf swing:
- Ball Strike
Each phase of the golf swing should be a fluid movement involving shoulder and hip rotation.
Common Golf Injuries
The perfect swing, however, is a difficult thing to achieve and bad mechanics can result in some of the following:
The lumbar spine and all areas of the back come under both compression and rotation forces while undergoing a typical golf swing.
Muscle strains of the back, involving the latissimus dorsi muscles and trunk rotators are common when a player becomes tired and lacks conditioning.
Lower Back Pain is also frequent, mainly caused by over extension on the follow through phase
Disc Herniation can also occur as a result of cumulative compressive forces on the lumbar spine, it is important to receive treatment on this condition as early as possible and to be aware of the warning signs!
Tendonitis of the shoulder and rotator cuff.
Bursitis of the subacromial bursa, which lies between the head of the humerus and the acromion.
Shoulder Instability can occur by already weak muscles becoming further weakened through injury.
Bursitis of the Olecranon bursa located at the proximal end of the ulna.
Golfers Elbow, the most common cause of pain in golfers is really medial epicondylitis, or tendonitis of the common flexor tendon, which inserts into the medial epicondyle at the elbow. As with all tendonitis injuries it is caused by overuse at the joint and reacts well to physical therapy and ice.
Causes of Golf Injuries
- Overuse - can lead to both tendonitis and bursitis outlined above
- Miss-hits or hitting the ground - sending shock waves through the spine and can lead to muscle strains
- Poor swing mechanics/ Over-swinging - "if it hurts you are doing it wrong" is a good motto for your golf swing!
Preventing Golf Injuries
- Rotate the shoulder and hip by the same amount during the backswing phase keeping the back and shoulder in line.
- Do not allow your back to extend during the follow-through, keeping your spine as vertical as possible.
- Rotator Cuffs
- Pectoralis Muscles
- Back Muslces
Doing so shall strengthen your swing and protect the shoulder joint from injury.
Many of the injuries suffered by golfers are a combination of technique, equipment and physical conditioning. A visit with a physical therapist and qualified golf pro can address all three areas.