Golf looks like an easy game to play, but think again! Golf historically is perceived as being a low-risk sport when it comes to injuries; however, many golfers, especially those who lack proper technique, suffer from acute or overuse injuries.
Common Golf Injuries
Acute injuries are usually the result of a single, traumatic episode, such as hitting the ground of a submerged tree root in a sand trap.
Overuse injuries are subtle and usually occur over time. These injuries more often stem from back, shoulder or elbow stress.
Why Do Golf Injuries Occur?
According to research, approximately 44% of all reported golf injuries happen from overuse or because of not regularly playing. The main causes of these injuries include:
- Lack of flexibility
- Poor conditioning
- Excessive play or practice
- Poor swing mechanics
- Ground impact forces
- Intermittent play
Poor flexibility is a key risk factor for a golf injury. One survey showed that more than 80% of golfers spend less than ten minutes warming up. Those who did warm up had less than half the incidence of injuries of those who did not warm up before playing.
The second main reason for golf injuries is the repetitive nature of the sport. The golf swing involves repetitive, high-velocity movement of the neck, shoulders, spine, elbow, wrist, hips, knees and ankles. The percentage of injuries directly correlates with the number of rounds or the number of range/practice balls struck per week.
Tips for Golf Injury Prevention and Performance
- Always warm up and stretch before playing or hitting at the practice range. A proper warm up such as walking, a slow jog, or low level calisthenics elevate your core temperature and increase blood flow to muscles. Stretching will increase flexibility and reduce the risk of muscle/tendon injuries.
- Stretch your entire body not just your shoulders and elbows. Leg and hip flexibility is extremely important to your golf swing. Without sufficient motion through your hips, other body parts have to do more work than they should which can lead to injury over time. Trunk and shoulder flexibility is important for a smooth transition throughout your entire swing.
- Perform exercises to increase your trunk flexibility.
- One of the main differences between professional and amateur golfers is the amount of trunk rotation. Increasing trunk rotation during the backswing allows you to store more energy and generate more speed. This can result in greater distance.
- Perform strengthening exercises for your legs and hips. Power of the golf swing begins at the hips. Strong, stable hips and thighs help to maintain posture throughout the swing and allow the swing to be more explosive. The hips and legs also absorb forces from the upper body during the follow through reducing the chances of injury.
- Take preventative action. See a chiropractor that specializes in Sports Injury Prevention and Rehabilitation, like Goodyear Chiropractic Health Center.
To avoid golf injuries at any age level, it is important to develop a solid swing technique. Anyone who plays with a poor swing technique has an increased risk of injury due to the excessive stress placed on the back, shoulders and elbows. All golfers should also have a specific routine of stretching/flexibility exercises they perform prior to starting each round.
Preventative treatment is also a must to avoid Golf injuries. At Goodyear Chiropractic Health Center, we offer our patients several preventative techniques. If you have a golf-related injury, we can also create a specific treatment plan for you to enhance your recovery.
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