preventing golf injuries

Hitting a ball off a tee with a club might look easy, but as any golfer knows, there’s a lot that can go wrong. During the swing, certain motions are supposed to happen in different areas of the body. If something goes awry during any phase, it can lead to a poor score for your game and, eventually, injury to your body.

Sixty-two percent of amateur golfers are injured during any given season, with the most common injuries being low back, elbow, wrist/hand, and shoulder. With more than 26 million golfers in the U.S., that amounts to a lot of lost rounds.

The most important flexibility requirements for all phases of a golf swing are upper back and hip rotation. Being able to properly twist through your upper back and hips while maintaining a strong lower back, or “core,” allows you to harness your power and create consistency in your stroke. If you are too tight in these areas, you have to compensate in other places: low back and shoulder, most commonly. When repeated over the course of a season, this leads to pain.

So how do you prevent this?

Work on your:

  • Posture Stretch the front and back of your shoulders, do trunk rotations and extensions.
  • Flexibility Stretch wrists, obliques, hamstrings, hip flexors, glutes/piriformis, and calves.
  • Core Strengthen your abdominals, low back, and side muscles.
  • Conditioning Make sure your body can handle what you’re asking of it. Exercise off the golf course with a yoga class or at the gym.

And properly WARM UP! Just five to 10 minutes of a warm up is enough to greatly decrease your chance of injury… and add six yards to your drive. (Really!) A short warm up including jumping jacks with light stretching increases blood flow to your ligaments, tendons and muscles, and prepares them for the constant stretching and shortening that happens during a round of golf.

By following these tips, you’ll be at less risk of injury and pain this golf season.

Tom Protopapas

Tom Protopapas is the Clinic Director of JAG Physical Therapy in Hawthorne, NY. JAG PT is an outpatient physical therapy company with multiple locations throughout NY and NJ, treating patients of all ages and activity levels, and specializing in individualized care. Visitjagpt.com or email tprotopapas@jagpt.com

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