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Last year Australians played 25 million rounds of golf – with a population of 23 million that’s more than one round for every man, woman and child in the country. The numbers get crazier though, the 25 million games came from only 1.18 million golfers – and with the greatest participation rates seen in those aged 55 or over, little wonder that what we see as physios from golf is overuse injuries.
Lower back pain is the most common complaint heard from the golfers we treat. The golf swing generates a huge amount of force through the spine whilst the spine is slightly bent forward. Not a great start. Couple that with age, lack of fitness, an inadequate warm-up (how many of us stand at the 1st tee swing the club a couple of times and then attempt to belt the cover off the ball?), poor flexibility, towing or carrying the clubs and dehydration (is that a 6-pack in your bag?) and this injury thing begins to make a lot of sense.
There is of course the aptly named golfers elbow – aka medial epicondylalgia – pain on the inside of the elbow due to damage to the tendon and associated tissues where they anchor to the bone; tennis elbow – pain at the outside of the elbow; wrist pain – more common in professional golfers; shoulder injuries; knee pain from poor walking mechanics or from large rotational stresses being transferred through the knee and similar rotational and inversion (outward rolling) stress injuries of the ankle.
So what do you do.? Talk to the pros and no, we don’t mean Tiger Woods. Talk to your local golf pro as many of the injuries are technique driven. Work on your technique and the forces generated during the golf swing are relayed through the musculoskeletal system in a way that’s manageable. Work on your fitness and make sure you warm up – golfers who warm up for 10 or more minutes before a round are at significantly lower injury risk.
And of course if this sounds like you or if your the golfer who wants to stay injury-free talk to your Construct Health physio today about attaining the joint ranges of motion and core stability that will keep you on course for the course.