Are you experiencing pain that’s keeping you from playing golf? If you want to get back to the golf course soon, golf physical therapy is what you need.
Why do Golfers Need Golf Physical Therapy?
As of 2018, there are approximately 24.2 million participants in golf in the U.S. alone. Over time, many golfers develop golf-related injuries. Others may aggravate pre-existing injuries. Physical therapy for golf has been around for a number of years and these days, several golfers have hired their own physical therapist to help them avoid injury as well as improve their overall performance in the sport.
What are Common Injuries in Golf?
Rotator cuff injury
The rotator cuff is made up of muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder joint. Repetitive motion (e.g. golf swing) can cause the tendons to tear and become damaged. When the injury happens immediately, you will feel intense pain. However, tears that develop over a certain period will have symptoms that progress more slowly. Symptoms include recurring pain, especially when doing an overhead motion; weakness in the shoulder muscle when lifting your arm; clicking or popping sounds when you move your shoulder; you have a limited range of motion in your shoulder.
Golfer’s elbow (medial epicondylitis)
Golfer’s elbow is a painful overuse injury that causes inflammation of the muscle on the inside of your elbow. The pain from this injury runs from the bony point of your elbow into your forearm. When you put too much stress on your muscles, joints, or other tissues and you do not get enough rest, you will end up with golfer’s elbow. Take note, however, that although the name of the injury is golfer’s elbow, this does not only happen to golfers. Any activity that includes repetitive forearm movement (e.g. painting, using a hammer), can also cause golfer’s elbow.
Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis)
Tennis elbow is also an overuse injury that causes inflammation or degeneration of the tendons on the outside of your forearm. These tendons allow you to lift or extend your hand. Tennis elbow occurs when you do repeat arm motions. The injury is called such because tennis players are prone to this injury especially when they constantly hit backhands in tennis. Other activities that can result in tennis elbow include constant typing on the computer, raking leaves, and playing golf.
Tendonitis or tendinitis is a general term that describes inflammation associated with a tendon. Tendonitis typically occurs due to the overuse of the associated area. Common areas where tendonitis occurs include the shoulder, the elbow, the wrist, the knee, the back of the ankle, and the foot.
What are Common Risk Factors for Golf Injuries?
Physical Risk Factors
Poor Spine Flexibility
When you have poor spine flexibility, you have limited mobility. Performing a golf swing requires certain rotational demands which can cause stress on the discs and joints in the lower back.
Poor Flexibility in the Shoulder
A golf swing requires a lot of mobility in the upper body. If your shoulders are tight and are unable to move the way they’re supposed to, you will put a strain on other areas of your body, including the upper back, lower back, and elbows.
Poor Flexibility in the Hip
When you lack mobility in your hips, stress is placed on your lumbar spine. Poor hip flexibility can also cause you to overextend your shoulder and this will create strain in the muscles of your shoulders and elbows.
If you are having trouble keeping your balance, you may end up having a minor or major injury since other parts of your body will have to compensate for this lack of stability.
Weakness in your “core”
If you have a weak “core,” you may end up making abnormal movements and shearing in your spine, hips, and pelvis. This may lead to injury and it can also affect how far you can drive the golf ball.
Weakness in the stabilizers of your shoulders and shoulder blades
Weakness in this area of your body can lead to injuries to your shoulders and elbows. Golfers need strong upper body strength and stability to be able to do long drives.
Risk Factors Outside Your Body
Conditions Within the Environment
A poorly maintained course or one with an uneven terrain can put golf players at risk of injury.
High levels of heat can predispose a golfer to heat-related illnesses like heat stroke or heat exhaustion.
Damaged clubs or poorly fit clubs can put golfers at risk for injuries.
Golfers are always at risk for injuries when playing on the golf course. They can be injured by golf carts, an errant ball or even by just hitting the ground with a club.
What are the Benefits of Golf Physical Therapy?
Golf physical therapy or golf rehabilitation can benefit all types of golfers, whether you’re a novice, casual or professional golfer.
- Physical therapy for golf helps identify your physical limitations that contribute to different swing characteristics.
- Golf rehabilitation helps you learn physical therapy golf exercises that can improve your overall performance.
- It helps improve the balance between your stability and mobility required for your golf swing.
- It helps decrease painful movement patterns.
- It helps reduce your risk of injury.
- It helps you recover more easily from injury.
Golf is a sport that people of all ages or genders can play. Unfortunately, some think the game is just a matter of learning how to hit the ball up to the 18th hole in as few strokes as possible. You should also know how to move your body during play. Otherwise, you may experience discomfort or injury.
Golf physical therapy not only helps prevent injury, it will also help you improve the consistency of your golf swing and your overall performance in the sport.
If you need help in avoiding and/or preventing golf injuries, easing pain, and improving your game, Vigor Physical Therapy &Rehabilitation can help you.
We are a therapist-owned physical and occupational therapy practice focused on providing all our patients excellent, personalized care.
For more details on how we can help develop the best golf rehabilitation program for you, please contact us, today.