29 Sep How to be a Better and Pain Free Golfer
Despite golf being a great sport and pastime to play well into your 80’s or even 90’s, it’s certainly not a game that’s gentle on your joints and tendons if played incorrectly!
How many of you or your friends report aches and pains during or after playing? How many of you stretch after playing and exercise on your non-golf days?
There are thousands of books and websites on the perfect swing, but we are going to take a brief look at what movements you need in your body to achieve that, and what injuries you can suffer if you don’t.
- 60 million golfers worldwide.
- 62% (37 million!) have a golf injury at any one time.
- The reasons are excessive play (29%), poor swing mechanics, hitting the ground, swinging too hard and carrying your golf bag rather than using a trolley.
- Wrist, back and elbow pain are common problems but there are differences between pros and amateurs – elbow problems are mainly seen in amateurs and in women. Professionals tend to suffer with more hand and wrist issues.
- You are more likely to have left sided injuries if you are right handed and vice versa.
Some of the more common problems we see at Halo are:
Hip Pain – arthritis or hip stiffness in your front leg will affect your follow through, as your pelvis and upper body cannot rotate over the hip as far is it should. This can cause pinching groin pain or compensatory low back pain. You need to get this condition assessed properly, but some golfers can reduce problems by turning their front foot out very slightly. You need 40 degrees of hip motion to take a full back swing. If your hip is stiff the forces will transfer elsewhere and may cause you to sway your pelvis or lock back your knee, possibly causing pain in these joints.
Upper Back Pain – if you have poor posture or are tense you may end up straining your Thoracic spine (upper back). You need 90 degrees of upper back rotation to take an efficient golf swing, so any less than this and you could be straining your shoulders or lower back as well as the thoracic spine itself. Again, you may need a full assessment if the pain is severe, but standing further away from the ball in the stance phase can help to use your spine more comfortably and efficiently.
Elbow Pain – Despite its name ‘golfers’ elbow is rare in golf! You are more likely to get ‘Tennis Elbow’ or lateral epicondylalgia due to the excessive or repetitive strain on the wrist extensor muscles that attach onto the outside of the elbow joint. It is an extremely persistent injury that can be difficult to treat, so seek help and advice at the earliest stage. Elbow pain is often due to a poor hand grip position or holding the club too tightly. Being weak or stiff in the core muscles can also mean your arms and wrists compensate to generate power – a job they are not designed for!
There are many aches and pains associated with golf, many are due to inflexibilities and weaknesses in one or two joints leading to an overload and strain of other areas. A tailored exercise routine will help to address your specific problems and often make you a better and pain free golfer!
For more advice on treating and preventing golf related injuries, please contact Halo Physio here
Blog compiled by Michelle Henry, Principal Physiotherapist at Halo Physio