Fractured ribs, herniated discs, injured wrist and knees, we’re not talking the Eagles injury report, but rather some of the injuries suffered on the PGA tour! Hard to believe that what’s been described as “a good walk spoiled” and debated by others as not even being a sport could result in this litany of injuries.
So what are the most common problems suffered by the weekend golfer and how can you treat and prevent them?
It’s been estimated that 80% of Americans will experience back pain at some time in their life. That number becomes even higher when you enjoy golf as an activity. With the average golfer generating torque and swing speeds of 80 to 90 miles an hour and pros well over 110 it is not surprising that the raid generation and sudden stop put significant stress on the lumbar spine. Pre and in-season stretching and core strengthening can be good preventatives. Rest, anti-inflammatories (like Motrin or Aleve) stretching, deep tissue massage and bracing all may be helpful early on. If not responding after a week you may need to see your health care professional.
Tennis elbow (outside of the elbow) and golfer’s elbow (medial elbow) are also the bane of the duffer and pro golfer alike. Over use, hitting off mats, too stiff a shaft and improper grip size can lead to these problems. Stretching, tennis elbow straps, ice, anti inflammatories and injections all have a place in treatment. Sometimes a switch to graphite or a more flexible shaft may be beneficial and could be a reason to consult a golf professional.
Most wrist pain related to golf comes from tendonitis and over use. Taking time off (sorry fellow golfers), ice and anti-inflammatories will cure most cases. If the pain follows striking a root or another object, results in joint swelling or lasts more than a week after treatment than a more serious injury (fracture or ligament tear) is a possibility and a trip to the doctor is more advisable.
The stiff lead leg is exposed to high stress during weight shift, and while not as common as some of these other problems these injuries often involve ligaments or meniscus and may need medical attention earlier. Those with arthritis also may see flares during golf season. Bracing and an evaluation of your swing by your golf pro may help. Continue reading →
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.
Summer is here and I am sure you prepared your golf bag. But how are your rotator cuffs, hip joints and spinal discs?
If you have not been preparing for the past four weeks, then they are not ready for that first tee giant swing to impress the foursome. You are also at prime potential for injury and poor performance. But don’t fret: it’s never too late to ready the body.
Strength and conditioning coaches use what is called periodization to prepare athletes. This breaks down the year into three main categories: Offseason, preseason and in season.
Periodization is designed so the athlete has time to work on recovery and weak areas of performance in the offseason, ramp up to peak form and power during preseason and maximize performance during the season. Golfers are power athletes with swings taking as little as 2 seconds. So golfers should be training for power, which involves strength and speed. And they should be reaching their maximal potential in the heart of summer. That means preseason is spring and offseason winter.
Offseason is when the golfer must take some time and let the repetitive motions stop so the body can heal.
Have a spa day or two to work out the byproducts that build inside the muscles and connective tissue during the season. Sample a yoga class or stretch class to lengthen the muscles that tightened up playing all summer and fall. After a few weeks of rest, the remainder of the offseason should be spent working on the skills for which you are weakest. If you want more distance on your drives, then build strength in your legs and core. Use exercises such as squats and step-ups, pull-ups and push-ups to build basic strength.
Weekend warriors’ watch out, rotator cuff injuries happen from simple yard work more often than they do from pitching nine innings
Rotator cuff injuries
The sharp pain in your shoulder that wakes you up when you roll over in the middle of the night might be your rotator cuff or several other things. Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Gene DeMorat of Shore Orthopaedic University Associates, who works with local athletes and was a physician for the U.S. Olympic ski, snowboard and speed skating teams, works with many patients suffering with shoulder pain. “I work with athletes who have shoulder and rotator cuff problems due to injuries related to their sport. But more than athletes, I have weekend warriors who do a lot of damage to their shoulder in their own backyard,” said DeMorat.
Weekend Warriors are frequent patients
Spring is here and it is prime season for rotator cuff injuries according to Dr. DeMorat. “I see so many patients who come in with shoulder pain and it is not because they just pitched nine innings. It is because they have not done any exercise over the winter and there is a nice sunny day and they decide to go for a run even though they have been rather sedentary, not working out over the winter and they find themselves hurting. We see a lot of weekend warriors that come out with the good weather, doing a sudden burst of work, whether it is raking leaves, digging, lifting heavy objects or they decide to do some painting and they find themselves in some pretty significant discomfort.”
Dr. McCloskey has firsthand experience working with athletes. His wife Cecilia is a master swimmer recently setting NATIONAL AND WORLD RECORD WINS at the U.S. Masters Swimming 2015 Summer National Championship. Cecilia was NATIONAL CHAMPION in 4 Individual events and set WORLD RECORDS in the 50, 100, and 200 Backstroke events. Her 2nd Place finish in the 200IM was also under the World Record. And she also swam on a National Champion Women’s 200 Free Relay.
Swimming and fitness have always been part of Cecilia’s life. She started swimming at a very young age and has been competing on a national level since the age of fourteen. Cecilia’s talents allowed her to excel as a NCAA Division 1 swimmer and the captain of her team at West Chester State University winning the championship her senior year. She was also a competitor in the 1967 Pan Am Games and a 1968 Olympic Trials finalist. Continue reading →