Golf requires much more athletic ability than most of us realise.
Golf is a sport with many health and wellbeing benefits. A reported 60 million people of all ages play golf across the world, sometimes into their 80s and 90s.
The health benefits have been widely reported in recent years with an 18 hole round amounting to 6-8 km of walking, requiring over 8,000-12,000 steps and a calorie burn of 1,500.
However, golf can be very demanding, requiring strength, endurance, explosive power, flexibility and athletic ability to perform a movement that produces some of the fastest club head and ball speeds of any sport.
The effect of these repeated large forces on the body can lead to many different types of injuries, which are often specific to certain areas and sides of the body in golfers, depending on their lead side.
Much research has been done on the types and likelihood of injuries experienced by golfers with the main areas of the body prone to injury being the lower back, shoulder, elbow, wrist and hips.
Most common causes of golfing injury
Overuse; over playing/practice without enough time for the body to adapt
Poor swing mechanics
Poor warm up, or no warm up routine
Incorrect set up/ poor golfing posture
Excessive rotational stresses placed to the body
NB: not to mention injuries caused prior to getting onto the course like lifting the bag and buggy out of the car boot!
Injuries to amateur golfers often occur due to overuse, but more commonly, due to swing patterns that are developed around physical limitations, therefore over stressing areas of the body, and creating further injury to pre-existing conditions.
Most common injuries in golf
Low back pain (accounts for over 30% of all golf related injuries)
Elbow pain (medial- golfers elbow, lateral- tennis elbow- despite the naming of these problems tennis elbow is more common in golfers!)
Shoulder and rotator cuff injuries
Foot and ankle injuries
Role of physiotherapy in golf related injuries
An initial physiotherapy assessment for a golf injury would usually comprise of a thorough assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation/management plan.
However many people do not realise that there can be much more a physiotherapist can do to help with golf injuries. A physiotherapist that has a specialist interest in sports can look to treating these potential injuries before they arise.
How can physiotherapy help golfers?
Screening: screening of posture, functional movement, joint range of motion, muscle strength and previous injury can help highlight any weakness or restriction that may cause future injury. Screening will also provide very useful information to use during the rehabilitation stage and for strength and conditioning (S & C) programmes.
Treatment- :physiotherapists can treat a wide variety of conditions and experience musculoskeletal physiotherapist can treat all golf related injuries through the following modalities; Manual therapy, soft tissue massage, acupuncture, posture and manual handling advice, exercise prescription and S & C programmes.
Strength and conditioning: programmes formulated for the individual patient aimed to rehabilitate current injury, prevent future injury and improve performance. Develop good movement patterns and strengthen the core.
Injury Prevention: ideas of injury prevention pre- game warm up, and post- game stretches, as well as posture and manual handling.
If you are interested in booking an appointment with a local Sports Physiotherapist with a special interest in golf Injuries, please book online here or call your nearest Melbourne Sports Physiotherapy clinic.