Golf season is in full swing! While golf may seem like it’s easy on the joints and muscles, this is the biggest misconception about the sport. Golf is linked to a variety of spine and joint injuries, stemming directly from the unnatural twisting motion during a swing. Continue reading to learn how to prevent golf injuries and a variety of treatment options if injured below.
What Happens When You Hit a Golf Ball?
The golf swing calls for the spine to rotate, at a tilt, over and over, at excessive speed. If a golf swing is performed on an inflexible spine and core, the lumbar region assumes more of the burden, increasing the risk of a golf injury, specifically for your back.
Not every golfer will have the same swing. However, a large number of golfers out there, regardless of skill level, are uneducated about how to execute a healthy swing. This is largely due to the spread of misinformation, young golfers trying to emulate professional players, and professional players overcompensating during their swing.
Golf swings have changed over the years. In general, the swing has gotten shorter, faster, and tighter. Golf analysts claim this turns the body into a ‘ticking time bomb’; sooner or later, the spine will be damaged. This is especially dangerous among young, amateur golfers who are unaware of these detrimental habits. Sometimes, ego overpowers alignment and you’ll see golfers hurting themselves for a more powerful swing.
A proper golf swing should be long and fluid, with a full release of the lower body. A good way to prevent unintentional golf injuries is to wield lighter clubs with larger, spin-reducing sweet spots. Also, golfers should focus on improving the flexibility of the hips and mid-back. This will help to lower the stress placed on the low back in the golf swing. Focus on back mobility, golf posture, hip flexibility, and correcting a limited golf follow-through.
Most Common Golf Injuries:
- Back injuries: Hypertrophy, also called golfer’s back, is the enlargement of the facet joints in the lumbar segments of the spine. If you play the game for long enough, chances are you’ll have some form of this. It is also being seen increasingly more often in younger players. Also, you may see inflammation, herniation, or advanced degeneration of the spinal discs.
- Elbow tendonitis: Medial epicondylitis, also called golfer’s elbow, causes soreness and inflammation on the outer tendon or the inner tendon of the elbow.
- Rotator cuff (shoulder): Golfers can develop tendinitis, bursitis and shoulder separation from the repetitive movements. Improving your swing can help; you can even wear shoulder and clavicle support to ease the pressure on the shoulders and prevent rotator cuff tears.
- Knee pain: At the beginning of the swing, a common mistake is to strain a weak knee to stabilize the hip rotation. The extreme force applied to the knee can cause torn or sprained ligaments and kneecap injuries.
- Wrist tendonitis: The repetitive movement of the wrist during the swing and the force applied to the tendons responsible for wrist movements increases the risk for wrist pain.
Treating Golf Injuries
If you are unfortunately injured while playing golf, The GRM team will make it their mission to get you back to feeling your best! Dr. Greenberg specializes in regenerative medicine which includes stem cell therapy, prolotherapy, platelet-rich plasma (PRP), or a combination of each.
During Dr. Greenberg’s signature examination process, known as the Greenberg Method, he will first evaluate and then if needed treat any other areas of damage your body may be experiencing. For example, if there is a patient who comes in with a lower back problem from a golf injury Dr. Greenber would examine the back along with the pelvis, hips, knees, and feet and perhaps discover that the pain is rooted in a pelvic tilt vs. just the back. An isolated joint treatment ignores physiology and the evaluation of movement, while the Greenberg Method’s comprehensive diagnosis is able to create a successful treatment plan for patients.
Suffering from a golf injury and just want to get back to doing what you love? Schedule a consultation with Greenberg Regenerative Medicine’s team to determine a plan that is best suited for your needs.