By Christopher C. Hanson, PT, MPT, DMT, OCS, FAAOMPT
Most golfers are weekend warriors and if there is extra time in anyone’s schedule for golf activities, more times than not this is allocated to swing training. As the last few articles have discussed, physical fitness is equally important. In order to have a world class swing, the function of one’s musculoskeletal system also needs to be equipped. Golf is a sport that requires strength, power, coordination and mobility; no one of these is more important than the other. This weekly dive into the physical care of a golfer’s body will discuss the importance of hip mobility and stability in all golfers.
In the golf community the importance of spinal mobility and strength is well documented. There have been numerous social media campaigns since the start of this golf season showing new creative ways to improve spinal mobility and strength. However, absent from these posts have been ways to improve hip strength and mobility; negating altogether the connection between the hip and the spine.
The hip and the spine are intricately related. If one has movement issues in one area, it can transmit increased forces along the kinetic (movement) chain. In the presence of hip mobility issues the body increases motion in other joints. The body is almost too good at this compensation and creating more (too much) movement in order to allow someone to function in a way that seems correct. In the presence of limited hip mobility there may be an excessive forces through the lumbar spine. This can happen at different points in the swing. Limited hip mobility can create issues in the back swing, during the initiation of swing and during the follow through. This also relates to other sporting activities as well.
Did you know that of all the sports the most injuries to the hand and wrist occur in golf?
Hand injuries occur in about 10% of professional and 20% in the amateur golfers. The incidence may be explained by the anatomic and mechanical complexity of the wrist and hand. Most of the injuries occur in the lead wrist and hand associated with overuse, golf swing faults and mechanics and trauma.
Overuse injuries are primarily tendonitis or tenosynovitis such as deQuervains tenosynovitis (inflammation of tendons on the thumb side of the wrist). Overuse injuries often occur in the amateur at the beginning of the golf season, when the golfer is not appropriately physically prepared to strike the golf ball. For example, as the golf season approaches it’s off to the driving range hitting a large bucket of balls one after another without appropriate warm up and rest between swings. Watch a professional warm up hitting golf balls notice, that between each swing, they stop, analyze the ball flight, divot etc. and discuss it with their caddy or coach. The take home message is that the amateur hits too many golf balls to quickly and too often. Overuse also occurs due to a lack of physical conditioning for their entire body, not just the upper extremity. The power and the ability to strike the golf ball correctly comes from the use of the powerful core and lower extremity muscles. If the lower body does not initiate the swing sequence correctly this can cause changes in the upper body swing mechanics placing the wrist and hand at risk. Swing faults of “Casting, Scooping, Chicken Winging and Over the Top” can contribute to wrist and hand injuries.
NovaCare Rehabilitation Thanks and Celebrates Physical Therapists and Physical Therapist Assistants
Join NovaCare Rehabilitation as we celebrate National Physical Therapy Month (NPTM)! NPTM is hosted by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) each October to recognize how physical therapists and physical therapist assistants help restore and improve motion in people’s lives.
This October, the APTA’s focus is on the risks of opioid use and that physical therapy is a safe, non-opioid alternative for managing pain. The APTA wants you to #ChoosePT… and so do we!
Physical therapy is a unique science and art that utilizes a wide variety of evidence-based treatments to restore function to the body, reduce pain and prevent future injuries. Physical therapists and physical therapist assistants treat pain through movement and create individualized treatment plans tailored to a person’s needs and goals. Physical therapists can identify additional health issues and take into consideration pre-existing conditions to help improve a person’s overall health and quality of life. Continue reading →