Full Motion Physio
Across the world, sixty million people play golf. It remains the passion for those who value quality time with others, being out in the open and beating their previous best score. An incredibly simple game, but infuriatingly difficult at times! Playing golf has multiple health and wellbeing benefits: an 18-hole round typically equates to 6 km of walking, requiring up to 10,000 steps. It will keep your step counter happy! Whether you are looking to lower your handicap, gain membership on a tour or just hit the local range, pain-free, then we are here to help you.
We all love a good statistic, here’s one for the golfers out there: up to 64% of amateur golfers will suffer a significant injury when playing golf. Typical reasons include lack of conditioning, uncoordinated swing technique and lack of mobility.
For professionals, the injury rate is actually higher. Why? Because they are sometimes hitting 400 balls a day, if not more.
Left untreated, injuries which started out as minor niggles can become painful enough to keep you off the course for an extended period of time.
This is where physiotherapy comes in: to diagnose and treat golf injury conditions and to prevent golf injuries.
Common Golf injuries
Compared to most other sports, golf appears at least on the surface, to be “safer” due to its non-contact nature. However it has been reported in the Harvard Medical review that a high percentage of golfers suffer injuries affecting their back, wrist, elbows and knees. This is because the golf swing is a complex, coordinated movement that requires a high level of strength, speed and balance. While most professional golfers will have worked intensively towards developing their swing, the average amateur golfer doesn’t have the same amount of time to work on these factors
Wrist injuries – Extensor carpi ulnaris
The extensor carpi ulnaris is a muscle that helps to straighten/pull the wrist upwards and inwards towards you, (these movements are referred to by physios as ‘extension’ and ‘adduction’). This muscle works continuously during the golf swing and can be prone to overstrain and consequent injury. This can be due to trauma, for example trying to hit through thick grass, or due to repetitive faults in technique leading to excessive loading around this area of the wrist.
The first thing that comes to mind is complete rest, but this is not the answer. Instead, the focus should be on ‘activity modification’. In the early stage, the priority is to reduce inflammation. This will normally involve you reducing or stopping specific activities for a short period. Following this, attention needs to turn to strengthening the muscles of the wrist and progressively loading the tissues with a view to returning to the sport. This should be accompanied by reviewing and potentially modifying your technique, to reduce the chances of injury recurrence.
Low back pain
Lower back pain is one of the most common injuries suffered by golfers. Research by Titliest has found that almost 30% of golfers experience low back pain after each round and that even professional level golfers suffer this pain while on tour.
It is often a lack of movement in the hips and thoracic spine coupled with poor technique that causes this type of pain. It frequently presents as a dull ache and discomfort while moving into certain positions: flexion, for instance.
It is not always possible to pinpoint the specific segment of the spine that is causing the problem, since pain can be referred to surrounding areas. Complete rest is not the solution: it is really important to continue to work on movement and flexibility by appropriate exercise.
Golf Injury Prevention
When recovering from an injury, as is the case with most sports, working on strength and mobility is imperative to help assist successful rehabilitation. It is important that a golfer, (amateur or professional), works on having in place a balanced training programme including mobility and strength coupled with the professional input from a golf physio who is specifically trained in correcting a players’ technique.
Selecting a Golf Physiotherapist
Golf places unique demands on the body. So it is extremely beneficial if your physiotherapist understands the link between golf swing technique and injury risk.
The Titliest Performance Institute (TPI) medical screening programme is recognised worldwide as the ‘gold standard’ in golf physiotherapy. Under the TPI programme, physiotherapists gain detailed insights into the specific movements, muscle and joint loadings involved in the sport. This enables accurate diagnosis, treatment and preventative steps to be taken.
So in selecting your physiotherapist, consider how important it is to you to have a physiotherapist with this detailed golf-related knowledge.
If you choose Full Motion Physio
My approach is described in the Full Motion Method page. Extensive research has identified four essential elements for the best physiotherapy. The Full Motion Method covers each of these elements.
I will tailor your treatment specifically to your body and your condition. We will review and refine the treatment throughout your recovery. Your input at each stage is an essential part of the process. My aim is to be a partner in your recovery.
The end result is more than simply fixing your current symptoms. I will help you understand your condition and how specific exercises aid recovery. And I will guide you on injury prevention.
One last point: Early diagnosis and intervention minimises the risk of the injury getting worse.
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