Golf is thought to be a relatively low risk sport with regards to injury, however, due to the repetitive nature of the swing, injury can occur. In golf low back pain is the most common injury, closely followed by injuries to the elbow and shoulder. The nature of the injury depends on the level of competitiveness with professional golfers suffering with a high number of wrist injuries, and amateur golfers experiencing more elbow injuries. Both professional and amateur golfers have a relatively high rate of shoulder injuries.
Low back problems occur as a result of adverse swing biomechanics. With a combination of poor mechanics, a lack of trunk stability and the powerful rotation and extension movement in the swing a number of injuries. These can include facet joint sprains, disc prolapse or a condition known as spondylolysthesis (when a vertebrae in the spine moves out of position). Studies have shown that by increasing the range of motion at the lumbar spine into extension and rotation of the lead hip, low back pain can be reduced.
The elbow is the second most commonly injured area in golfers. The two most common problems are medial epicondylitis (golfer's elbow) and lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow ). Both of these conditions are as a result of poor biomechanics in relation to the player's swing. A golfer who hits their shot by hitting the ground first is thought to be at a higher risk of medial epicondylitis, and golfers who over swing are thought to be at a higher risk of lateral epicondylitis in their dominant arm. The nature of both of these injuries is overuse, causing the collagen in the tendons of the elbow to break down which is known as 'tendonopathy'.
Golfers are also at risk of injuries to their wrists. This is most commonly more apparent in the lead wrist (left wrist in right-handed golfers). The majority of golf injuries are overuse injuries of the wrist flexor and extensor tendons, causing pain to both side of the wrist.
It is important for the mechanics of the shoulder to be optimal to reduce the risk of shoulder injury in golf. If there is muscle imbalance within the rotator cuff muscles, the mechanics of the shoulder will be compromised, predisposing the shoulder to impingement syndrome (rotator cuff tendonopathy, subacromial bursitis). These injuries occur most frequently in the lead arm.
Of course it can. Your physiotherapist will complete a thorough assessment and will then ascertain the cause of the injury. This assessment will involve biomechanical assessments, looking at your movement patterns to identify any faults in your technique that may be predisposing you to your injury. Depending on the nature of the injury, the physiotherapist will then be able to provide a combination of manual therapy, a program of stretches and strengthening exercises. These will improve your biomechanics and joint range of movement helping reduce pain and promoting healing in the injured tissues.
If you would like to discuss your problem before booking an appointment please give our physiotherapy team a call, we will do our best to help.