Golf is a sport with many health and wellbeing benefits. A reported 60 million people of all ages play golf across the world, with many their 80s and 90s. The health benefits have been widely reported in recent years with an 18 hole round amounting to 6-8 km of walking, requiring over 8,000-12,000 steps and a calorie burn of 1,500.
However, golf can be very demanding; requiring strength, endurance, explosive power, flexibility and athletic ability to perform a movement that produces some of the fastest club head and ball speeds of any sport.
The effect of these large repeated forces on the body can lead to injury which tend to be specific to certain areas and sides of the body. The player’s leading side being a major predictor for someone’s propensity for injury.
Much research has been done on the types and likelihood of injuries experienced by golfers. The main areas of the body prone to injury being;
- lower back and hips
- Neck and shoulders
- Elbow and wrists
Lower back injuries account for roughly 30% of all golfing injuries, with poor technique and lack of flexibility in the mid spine and hips being the most probable cause. Often it presents as an aching and discomfort on moving into certain positions and activities. However, the soreness and stiffness that people often experience with is called ‘non specific’ as it is not usually clear which anatomical structure is causing the problem/pain.
Golf requires much more athletic ability than many imagine and the consequences of this mean many people suffer injuries through poor general conditioning, lack of warm up and poor technique.
The neck, shoulder, arms and the hips – usually they are the last point of reference in a golf swing, because often these parts are forced to compensate for what the rest of the body is not doing properly.
Treatment may include:
- Soft tissue release/massage
- Specific joint mobilisation and manipulation
- Exercise to work on strengthening:
- Upper limbs
- Core Muscle stability
- Thoracic and Lumbar spine
- Hip Joints
- Lower back
- Gluteal and pelvic floor
- Rehabilitation exercises that are individualised to the golfer’s body type and swing mechanics.
With regular conditioning, with focus on warm ups and technique, every golfer should see improvements to their performance and a reduction of injuries. Your Osteopath can help you with this as well as provide you with effective treatment as the need arises.
Golf Injury Prevention
Proper warm up and correct swing technique has been shown to decrease injuries. There are specific ranges of motion that a golfer should be able to attain. Your Osteopath can provide you with a physical screen that assesses your body’s strength and range of motion, and provide you with exercises to correct any deficits. They will help to optimise your body to best suit your golf play style.