Tag Archives: golf

SHOULDER INJURIES IN GOLF

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Shoulder injuries are common in golfers. Stresses on the shoulder are different from other sports because each shoulder is in opposition when swinging the club. The forward shoulder stretches across the body with the trailing shoulder raised and rotated. This leads to different complications in each shoulder.

In addition, the rotator cuff muscles are placed under stress as they are a major force in providing power and control of the swing. The leading, non-dominant shoulder is most commonly injured. It is placed into an extreme position during the backswing causing impingement, or, pinching of the rotator cuff. This condition causes inflammation and rotator cuff tears. The placement may also put stress on the shoulder joint and cause tears of the labrum (a stabilizing structure in the shoulder).

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Pain may be felt in the shoulder or upper arm at various phases of the golf swing, or following play, often when the arms are overhead or at night. Injuries to the shoulder may be sustained from a poor golf swing, a mis-hit, or from overuse. Golfers can develop tendinitis and tears in the rotator cuff from a combination of poor mechanics and the repetitive motion of the golf swing.

Prevention

While many golf injuries occur due to a combination of overuse and poor technique, a lack of conditioning and flexibility also contribute to injuries and pain. Tips:

  • Rest between playing to prevent overuse injury.
  • When in discomfort, decrease the amount of time you play.
  • Shorten your back swing and turn more through the hips & waist.
  • Refine your swing to decrease force on the shoulder joint; pro lessons will help.
  • Exercise when not on the course to improve flexibility.
  • Warm up with brief cardio and stretching to decrease injury.

Treatment

  • Shoulder pain should be treated initially with rest or decreased playing time.
  • It’s best to completely avoid playing until pain is resolved.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may be helpful over a brief timeframe.
  • Icing over 24-48 hours may support relief.
  • Range of motion exercises should improve flexibility.
  • If pain persists beyond 7-10 days, consult your physician.

A sports medicine physician can examine the shoulder and obtain x-rays or an MRI to determine the cause of injury. Most injuries are treated with rest, anti-inflammatories, and/or physical therapy. Bursitis and tendinitis may be treated with a cortisone injection. For pain that continues despite a thorough treatment program, surgery is an option to consider. Recent advances in arthroscopic surgery allow repair of most injuries through minimally invasive techniques, enabling quick return to your game and minimizing downtime.

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Steven Page, MD is an Orthopedic Surgeon with a specialty in Sports Medicine at Sarasota Orthopedic Associates. He is Fellowship Trained and Board Certified. Dr Page serves as a Team Physician for the Mustang football team at Lakewood Ranch High School. The commitment of Sarasota Orthopedic Associates is to get our patients back on their feet, back to work, back in the game, and back to life. For an appointment go to our website at www.SOA.md or call 941-951-2663.

ANATOMY OF A GOLF SWING

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With today’s modern golf swing, there are numerous muscle groups and joints which need to be on the same page to best provide one with an effective, powerful stroke while minimizing the risk of injury. An often neglected part of the body with regards to many players’ swings is the hip joint and its surrounding structures.

Prevention

Placing focus on properly preparing the hip joint to maintain appropriate flexibility will best ensure that it can withstand the forces seen with one’s golf swing. Basic stretching exercises for the hamstrings, hip flexors, and rotators are essential. The average PGA golfer has roughly 45° of hip internal rotation. Lacking internal rotation leads to increased extension of a golfer’s pelvis which can result in low back pain and decreased drive. In addition, recent studies have shown that golfers with strong hip musculature have lower handicaps and longer driving distances compared to those with weak hip muscles. Combined with safe core strengthening, these steps will help one produce the maximum power with their swing while reducing the risk of back and other joint injuries.

Causes

Hip pain in golfers may be the result of minor strains, soft-tissue inflammation, such as bursitis, and even arthritis. The modern golf swing, with its requirement for large amounts of body rotation, can subject one’s body and hip joint to perhaps more than it can tolerate, rendering it vulnerable to injury. Labral tears, while perhaps more common in other sports, can also be a cause of hip pain in golfers. A stabilizing and supportive structure, the labrum can be damaged when subjected to increased pressure in a hip joint which lacks the necessary flexibility to withstand the forces seen with the modern golf swing. This may result in groin pain, clicking or locking sensations, discomfort when squatting to read a putt or pick up a ball, or even restricting one’s swing.

Treatment

The first steps to take in treating hip pain associated with golf involve the usual conservative measures, including rest, ice, and over the counter pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications. If these fail to alleviate the discomfort, formal physical therapy with an experienced provider familiar with golf related injuries can often target the specific muscle imbalances and tightness which made one prone to such an issue in the first place. Injections, such as steroid and platelet-rich plasma (PRP), can also be useful for a variety of hip related pathologies. Lastly, when non-operative treatments fail, surgery can be considered. For labral tears, recent advances in hip arthroscopy have enabled surgeons to repair this important anatomic structure through minimally invasive techniques, and best preserve the hip joint for countless rounds of future golf.

Our commitment at Sarasota Orthopedic Associates is to get our patients back on their feet, back to work, back in the game, and back to life.  Trevor Born, MD is fellowship trained in Sports Medicine at SOA and will help you get back in the game. Same day appointments are available at any our three locations by calling 941.951.2663.