Sunday 31 March 2013

Golf injuries

The 3 main reasons for golf injuries are:

- Poor posture
- Lack of flexibility
- Poor swing mechanics.

The most common injury sites for golfers are the low back, shoulder, knee, elbow and wrist. Golfers who have low back pain demonstrate a decrease in range of motion for hip internal rotation on the lead leg (left leg for a right-handed golfer) and lumbar extension and decreased activation and/or timing of the abdominal obliques, erector spinae and knee extensors.

The golf swing requires the spine to rotate, bend laterally and extend. A good golf swing uses the left side of the body as much as the right. The hips initiate movement into the ball. The feet pushing against the ground cause a ground reaction force that sequentially travels up through the hips, the trunk and finally out the arms.

Difference pros vs. amateurs

The most noticeable difference between pros and amateurs is trunk rotation. Trunk rotation and flexibility are enormously important in golf. Older and less skilled players tend to use less than half the trunk rotation of younger or more skilled players. In order to prevent injury in the first place, we need to ask ourselves, "Where do golfers become inefficient and thus injury prone?" The answer is when restrictions limit the potential energy stored for elastic recoil; and/or forces are dissipated improperly.

Underlying it all is posture. Proper posture ensures that the muscles of the body are optimally aligned at the proper length-tension relationships. Proper muscle balance allows for efficient functioning of force couples and joint motion. The ability of the nervous system to properly recruit all muscles in all planes of motion is called neuro-muscular efficiency. The root cause of poor swing mechanics is often a result of a physical restriction or mechanical dysfunction. 

The Answer

To avoid injury and/or poor performance, a proper conditioning and flexibility routine is vital. The problem is that all depending on how severe the pain is it can be difficult to stretch or strengthen efficiently. Exercising in the water is very safe, as the buoyancy of the water will help to support weak muscles and decrease joint stress while it can also provide resistance to strong muscles. 

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