Golf and Shoulder Pain

An effortless golf swing requires adequate mobility in the neck, shoulders, wrists, thoracic spine, hips and ankles. Deficits in one area or poor swing mechanics can result in excess load being placed in a particular joint or area which can end in injury. The shoulder commonly gets overloaded in a golf swing and as a result, golfers often come to the clinic with an issue in this area.

Golf is a safe activity, however due to the repetitive nature of the sport, as well as needing to take a multitude of joints to the end of their range of movement in a golf swing, you can be susceptible to overload injuries or acute sprains and strains. This is particularly common in those who lack mobility, those who play multiple games per week and the higher handicap players.

Golf related injuries require a thorough assessment in order to diagnose the problem as well as to identify any contributing factors. As I mentioned above, there are a lot of moving parts to a golf swing and as such, we need acceptable mobility throughout the body in order to swing effectively. Identification of the contributing factors is crucial in treating the injury itself, as the problem may actually be restricted thoracic spine and cervical spine rotation but the symptom of the issue is shoulder pain. For example, if your rotation through the thoracic spine isn’t adequate in the backswing, you will likely hyperadduct (arm across body) your lead arm to finish a full backswing arc. Whilst this may be fine with one or two swings, it could result in injury if you’re playing 1-2 rounds per week. In this example, we can treat the shoulder all we like, but it won’t have any real effect unless we address the restricted spine rotation. We may be able to get it to feel better in the short term, but once you get back to golfing, the pain is likely to return. There are situations where the shoulder itself is the main issue, however it is not often that we see the shoulder being the sole issue. This is where a thorough and targeted assessment is pivotal.

Often, once you’ve been thoroughly assessed, addressing the mobility deficits can be relatively quick and easy which is good news as it means you’ll be back to swinging the golf club as soon as possible. As with any injury, we here at BeFit Training Physio like to keep you engaged in your regular activity as much as your injury will allow. Golfers are no different, so it is important to us that we develop a plan together in order for you to promptly return to the course.

If you are a golfer who is dealing with an injury, or you would like to improve your mobility and feel more comfortable and powerful in your swing, you may be interested in a Titleist Performance Institute (TPI) physical assessment run by our resident TPI certified golf Physiotherapist Tom. This is a golf specific physical assessment which identifies any deficits in mobility or motor control which may be holding you back from a smooth, powerful and injury-free swing.

Tom Eather – BeFit Training Physio Double Bay

Tom Eather – BeFit Training Physio Double Bay

Tom Eather is a physiotherapist based in Double Bay, in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney. Tom has successfully treated musculoskeletal problems on the basis of a thorough assessment and diagnosis coupled with evidence-based rehabilitation programs tailored to the needs and goals of each individual. To book a consultation, click the link below.

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