How Can Physiotherapy Improve My Golf Swing and Help to Prevent Injuries in Golf?

Golf, although not recognised as a high impact sport, can still cause many injuries throughout the body due to the rotational stresses which occur through the body during the gold swinging action. When it comes to your golf swing, if your posture isn’t quite right then it can put tremendous amounts of stress through the body. This stress can result in pain and restriction to the injured area – affecting your overall performance when playing.  

 

There are five injuries that are most commonly occur as a result of golf. These injuries are as follows:

  • Back Pain
  • Rotator Cuff Injury
  • Golfers Elbow
  • Knee Pain and Damage
  • Tendinitis in the wrists

 

During a game of golf, you spend hours hunched over your golf club in order to get that perfect swing. In doing this, it can put a lot of rotational stresses on your back which can build up to result in severe back pain, in particular, in the lower back & thoracic region. If restrictions are present in the lower back and thoracic spine, this can cause compensatory discomfort between your shoulder blades muscles.

If you are struggling with any form of back pain, get in touch with our team of professionally trained physiotherapists in Cambridge today.

 

Injuries to the rotator cuff is a common injury to affect golfers. The rotator cuff is comprised of four distinct muscles which provide strength and stability to the shoulder. The shoulder joint is the most unstable joint in the body to allow the large degree of movement in the arm for hand function. It, therefore, relies on the rotator cuff muscles to confer stability to the joint, while also providing this movement – hence it’s vulnerability in the golf swing if the technique is poor and the repetitious action of the swing.

 

Elbow and wrist pain can be very common in golfers and is often due to poor technique, over-gripping action and repetitive stress forces through the tendons. Problems can arise on the inside of the elbow (medial epicondylitis), more commonly known as ‘golfers elbow’. However, inflammation and stress can also arise on the outer forearm tendons of the elbow, (lateral epicondylitis), more commonly referred to as ‘tennis elbow’.
If the trial arm elbow during a swing impact with the ball or ground it can cause a jarring action which reverberates the mechanical stress to the elbow tendons. This mechanical stress and loading build up over time leading to micro-tearing and inflammation of the tendons and pain.
Similar stresses around the wrist can also occur leading to tendonitis in the wrist and wrist joint pain. This is often due to poor wrist gripping technique and poor wrist action during swinging such as flicking action of the wrist on ball impact.

 

When stabilising the rotation of the hip axis during that perfect swing, it results in you putting a lot of stress on your knees. Knee injuries differ in type and severity, however, should you be experiencing any abnormal pain in your knees then get in touch with your local physiotherapist today. At UK Physio, our physiotherapists in Cambridge will treat your knee pain with proven techniques and teach you how to prevent further injury in the future.

How Does Physiotherapy Help Your Golf Game?

There are many reasons how physiotherapy can improve your golfing performance. Engaging in physiotherapy sessions will help you train your body to endure the impact golf can put on you.

Your physiotherapist will assist in improving your golf swing, stamina and strengthen your muscles, tendons and joints.  

In order to help you improve your golf performance, a physiotherapist will carry out an initial assessment. In the assessment, your physiotherapist will obtain ask you lots of questions about your condition, and this will help them form an initial hypothesis about what is causing the pain. The next part of the assessment will involve a physical examination of which comprises a serious of muscle, joint and resistance tests with movement analysis to form a correct diagnosis. Your physiotherapist will then discuss these findings with you and formulate a treatment plan to help reduce your pain and return you to full health and back on the golf course as soon as possible.

 

Typically, there are four stages a physiotherapist will go through when helping golfers.

Stage One: Screening

Stage one is Screening. During this stage, your physio will do a screening of your posture, functional movement, joint motion, muscle strength and previous injuries and weaknesses you have. In doing this, the physiotherapist can understand the useful information that they will use for your rehabilitation.

Stage Two: Treatment

Stage two is Treatment. Our physiotherapy clinic in Cambridge has professionally trained physiotherapists who can treat a variety of injuries by engaging with a large selection of techniques. These include manual therapy, soft tissue massage, acupuncture, electrotherapy, posture, manual handling advice and strengthening and conditioning programmes.

Stage Three: Strength & Conditioning

Stage three is Strength & Conditioning. These strength and conditioning programmes are created specifically to your requirements and enable you to have the best possible recovery. The programme will assist you in preventing future injury and will allow you to develop good movement patterns and strengthen your core.

Stage Four: Injury Prevention

Stage four is Injury Prevention. The injury prevention is a detailed analysis of ways to prevent injury during golf. This will include warm-up and cool-down exercises to ensure that the muscles are warm before you start playing and are stretched afterwards. Stretching after exercise is very important as it loosens the muscles and prevents you from pulling a muscle.

Summary

There are many potential areas for injury when playing golf. Poor posture and incorrect golf swing techniques can be causing your body, in particular, your joints, muscles and tendons a great deal of stress and pressure leading to injuries.

 

The most common golf injuries are back pain, rotator cuff injury, golfers elbow, knee pain and tendon/soft tissue injuries. These injuries are likely to occur due to the repetitive swinging of the golf club, as well as the power that is put into the swing; causing strain on your muscles and joints.

 

The injuries can easily be treated by a professional physiotherapist, and you will be provided with a rehabilitation plan that will assist you in understanding how to prevent injuries in the future. The plan will condition and strengthen your muscles, tendons and joints to ensure that you remove the risk of future injury.

 

A physiotherapist will take you through four stages when assessing your injuries. These stages are Screening, Treatment, Strength & Conditioning and Injury Prevention. All four areas will enlighten your view on the physical implications of golf and how you can train your body to become more resilient to the effects.

How To Prevent Sports Injuries

Sports are a huge part of our lives. Whether you are an elite athlete or recreational participant, sport can bring many benefits, not only from the physical activity itself but also the social benefits of meeting with friends and the comradery sport can bring. Our physiotherapist in Cambridge will treat your sporting injuries and show you the best ways to avoid them. 

 

Although we have outlined the many benefits of sport, it is important to recognise that sport does involve many risks to injuring our bodies. Some of these risks include direct trauma from the sport itself, injury from not preparing for exercise and warming up correctly, risks from not being in the physical shape and condition for the sporting demands placed on the body, or incorrect or poorly fitting equipment and clothing increasing the risks of being injured.

 

Some of the above risks are out of our control when playing sport, such as getting injured from a tackle in football. However, there are some things in our control to help mitigate the risk of getting injured due to how we prepare for playing a sport which is outlined below:

 

Before Exercising

Before commencing exercise, there are some key principles that are recommended to help us prepare our body for exercising and the demands it will place on our bodies.

 

Below are some recommended ways to warm up before participating in your sport.

 

Warm-Up

The main aim of a warm-up is to prepare your body for the sport by means of increasing the body temperature and the heart rate, which both serve to increase blood flow to the muscles. A thorough warm-up should be progressive in intensity and be sports specific and will include a mixture of cardiovascular drills, static stretching progressing to dynamic stretching and then higher intensity sport specific drills.

 

Stretching

Static stretching alone is not recommended as a preparation for exercise without incorporating a warm-up for the muscles prior to stretching. It is more important that the stretching is functional to the demands of the sport and is therefore dynamic in nature. This type of stretching not only improves joint flexibility but improves the body’s readiness for exercise.

 

Maintain Fitness

If you’re an active person who takes part in a specific sport on a regular basis, it is highly beneficial to maintain your fitness outside of the sport. This can be achieved by a conditioning exercise either with weights, circuit training or aerobic cardiovascular training. This will improve your strength, endurance and most importantly, it will improve your capability for exercising and competing in your sport.

 

By building up your muscles you’re not only improving your physical strength, but you are developing your physical ability. Muscles will protect joints to prevent them from getting damaged. For example, building up the muscle around your knee will help make the joint stronger and cushion any impact upon the knee, such as falling or landing heavily on one foot.

 

During Exercise

Even though you’re exercising, there are still areas that you need to bear in mind to ensure that you don’t damage your body.

 

Stay Hydrated

An athlete’s performance will be seriously affected by dehydration, therefore keeping our bodies hydrated before, during and post-exercise is of crucial importance. A lack of fluid during a sporting exercise results in your body having to work harder in order to perform. Negative repercussions can occur such as overheating. With minimal water in our systems, our body will struggle to produce sweat to cool us down; further resulting in us overheating.

 

Wearing the Correct Equipment and Clothing

Wearing the appropriate equipment and clothing when participating in a sporting activity will help to reduce the risk of injury. This can be as simple as wearing the correct shoes for the sport and replacing when worn, to having the correct protective padding for cricket. It is of vital importance that we check our footwear for signs of wear and tear and replace any worn footwear, clothing equipment or sporting equipment that could be faulty. These factors can not only limit our sporting performance but also increase the risk of injury to ourselves and others.

 

Know Your Limits

When taking up a sport or physical activity, it is always good to understand your limits. Taking up a sport not knowing what your physical limitations are can have repercussions later down the line when your body starts to struggle to keep up with you. Forcing your body to do something it physically can’t, may result in injuries such as pulling or straining muscles. It is also worth noting that if you haven’t undertaken a strenuous activity for a while, that you will need to get back into it slowly. This is necessary because you will need to build up your strength and stamina again to be able to cope with the physical pressures the sport demands.

 

Take Breaks

Taking regular breaks during exercise will give your body and mind the time to relax. During exercise our bodies naturally get tired, but the key is to notice when your body has had enough. Our minds are incredibly strong and will always fight and encourage us to do more; however, it is important that you listen to what your body is saying and exercise accordingly. When our bodies reach the point of physical exhaustion, our minds will continue to push the body to perform. At this stage, the body is vulnerable to injury. Make sure you take a break to rest your mind and body.

 

After Exercise

At the end of a session, there are a couple of factors that should be taken into account. The cooldown after exercise is just as important as the warm-up yet most people skip by it.

 

Cool Down Stretch

A proper cool-down will involve a mixture of gentle cardiovascular drills as well as gentle stretching. Stretching after exercising allows your muscles to relax and reduces muscle soreness, though it is important not to stretch to the full range after strenuous exercise as this risks further damaging the muscle fibres that have been exerted during the sporting activity. For those who are more ardent athletic competitors wanting to go the extra mile to help our bodies recover after exercise, an ice bath can be just the ticket. Ice bathing works to reduce inflammation caused by micro-trauma in the muscle fibres during strenuous exercise causing the blood vessels to constrict and aid healing. This type of recovery is known as Cryotherapy. Applying ice to the injured part of the body can help the healing process of any acute injuries or traumas an athlete has obtained from a sport.

 

Rest Days

Taking at least one day off a week from exercise is essential to give your body the opportunity to recover from a strenuous exercise. This actually benefits you both physically and mentally. Constantly doing something stops your mind from relaxing and can make you stressed without realising it. Our bodies need time to recover in order to work to their full potential. So, ensure that you’re resting each week to give your body the chance to rejuvenate. Sports physiotherapy is an excellent way to help your body cool-down and it will provide your muscles with the opportune moment to relax.   

 

Summary

Sports injuries are very common, but there are many ways in which the athlete can help to prevent them. Being conditioned and fit for your sport will help reduce the risk of injury, similarly, having the correct equipment in good working order will do the same. Injury risks can be reduced by adopting a thorough warm-up which is progressive according to the demands of the sport as well as being sports specific with dynamic stretching. Finally, injury risks in sport can be reduced by cooling down properly and how we use our bodies when we are not competing for the rest of the week.

 

“Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do” – Pele