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Golf and Physiotherapy

Golf 2Golf is a sport with many health and well-being benefits. A reported 60 million people of all ages play golf across the world, sometimes into their 80’s and 90’s. 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.

Despite this, golf can be a very demanding. It requires strength, endurance and explosive power as well as the flexibility and athletic ability to perform a movement that produces some of the fastest ball and club head speeds of any sport. 

Depending on the golfer’s lead side, the effect of these repeated large forces can lead to many different types of injuries, which are often specific to certain areas or side of the body. 

Much research has been done on the types and likelihood of injuries experienced by golfers with the main areas of the body prone to injury being;

  • The lower back,
  • The neck, shoulder, elbow, wrist
  • The Hips

Lower back injuries account for roughly 30% of all golfing injuries, with poor technique and lack of flexibility in the mid spine and hips possible causes. Often it presents as an aching and discomfort that can be felt when moving into certain positions or doing certain activities. As it is not usually clear which structure is causing the problem or pain, the soreness and stiffness that people of present with is called ‘non-specific’.

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, poor technique and practice and playing habits.

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.
  • Electronic muscle stimulation
  • 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, swing mechanics and likes and dislikes

Golf Injury Prevention

In order to decrease injuries, it is important to do swing correction and warm up before playing golf. As a golfer there are specific ranges of motion that you should be able to attain. Your physiotherapist can provide you with a golfer physical screen that assesses your body’s range of motion, strength etc and provide you with exercises to correct any deficits. They will help optimise your body to best suit your golf swing and body’s limitations.

With regular conditioning, improvement in technique, warm ups and structured practice the improvements in a golfer’s performance and reduction in injuries can be significant. Your physiotherapist can help you with this as well as provide you with effective treatment should you suffer with any injuries.


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