Common Golf Overuse Injuries

By Katy Salka, DPT Hampton Physical Therapy

Golfing-HPT

It’s tee-time! Time to break out those golf bags, carts, classic attire, and (most importantly) a warm-up routine. Golf can be considered a rather benign activity, as long as overuse and injury are avoided. Injuries in this sport have been reported to affect at least 15-20% of golfers each year. Some of those injuries can be acute in nature, such as hitting a stealthy root submerged just below the grounds surface, however most golf injuries are those due to overuse (over 80%). Overuse injuries are more subtle and occur overtime – professional golfers reporting high incidences of low back pain, wrist, and shoulder injuries; while amateurs reporting more low back and elbow problems. These injuries in the amateur population are usually the result of poor technique, dysfunctional movement patterns, and a lack of warm-up routine.
This sport requires the player to have explosive power, and these actions when repeated over and over, can put stress on the tissues causing injuries. Studies have shown that a simple stretching/warm-up routine before you begin can significantly reduce your chances of sustaining an overuse injury.
Types of Golf Injuries:
Golfer’s Elbow (Medial Epicondylitis) – Inflammation of the tendons that attach your forearm muscles to the bone of the inner side of your elbow. These tendons can become irritated and damaged from repeating the same motion again and again, especially with forceful gripping of the golf club. Symptoms include pain and tenderness to inner side of elbow, as well as weakness of wrist flexor muscles. If already suffering from this – some treatment options include rest, splinting, and anti-inflammatories.
Exercises, Stretches, and Tips to help prevent this type of injury:
Wrist Curls/Reverse Wrist Curls

Forearm Stretching

Resistive Gripping

Slow down your swing to lessen the shock in the arm when the club hits the ball

Low Back Pain – The number one cause of low back pain can be attributed to the repetitive stress of a faulty golf swing, consisting of powerful rotation and extension motions during the swing. This motion can put excessive strain on your back muscles, stress and irritate the facet joints of the spine, and/or cause damage to the intervertebral discs – all resulting in pain and further dysfunction. Carrying one’s golf bag is another culprit of low back pain, thus making it important to adjust your straps to fit properly and strengthen your core to protect your spine when lifting or carrying the bag. Once faulty mechanics and poor posture are recognized, low back pain can be managed with the strategies listed below.

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stretches
Exercises and Stretches to promote core strength and flexibility:
Rowing

Lat Pull Downs

Yoga and Pilates

Swiss Ball Exercises

Low back, Buttock, and Lower Extremity Stretching

Plantar Fasciitis – Inflammation of the plantar fascia (fibrous sheath of connective tissue under the sole of the foot), at its attachment to the heel bone. Usually results from walking around on the golf course especially with poor footwear. Typical symptoms of plantar fasciitis include heel pain when walking, particularly in the morning when taking the first few steps of the day.

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stretcfhing HPT
Exercises, Stretches, and Tips to treat and prevent this type of injury:
Proper footwear with appropriate arch support

Stretching before and after activity; focusing on calf and plantar fascia

Tennis ball massage to arch of foot

Shoulder Pain – Specific muscles in the shoulder are very active during your golf swing including the muscles of the rotator cuff (muscles situated around the shoulder joint), pectoralis major and minor (pecs), and latissimus dorsi (lats). These muscles can become damaged with the repeated stresses of a faulty golf swing, particularly with “Chicken Winging” (when the elbows are bent at ball contact), or with a “C-shaped posture” (when the lower back is rounded). Ice, anti-inflammatories, Neoprene shoulder sleeves, and physical therapy can help if already suffering from shoulder pain.

rowing for shoulder strength HPT

exercises to get in shape HPT
Exercises and Stretches to help prevent this type of injury:
Internal and External Rotation

Abduction in the plane of the shoulder blades

Rowing and Lat Pull Downs

General Tips and Advice:
Simple stretching routine to warm up your muscles before beginning your round

Hit a few balls on the driving range/warm-up area prior to hitting the course

Wear sunscreen, a visor/hat, and sunglasses to protect you and your eyes from the harmful UVA rays

Stay well hydrated during and after your game

When riding in the cart keep yourself, including your feet, inside the cart

Be aware of your environment and other players to avoid accidental soft tissue injuries…Fore!

Get sound advice from a professional regarding proper form, warm-up/stretching routines, and training techniques

Enjoy your golf season more by taking these tips and including them as part of your routine. Your game will likely improve and your body will thank you later. It is always good to have your golf swing checked by a professional to avoid poor swing mechanics, which can lead to compensation and overstressing your joints and muscles. Go get out there and have a great season! Most importantly be safe and have fun! For questions or consultation contact Hampton Physical Therapy http://www.HamptonPT.com/

What Brand of Footwear is best?

by Kate Serodio, DPT Owner/Physical Therapist

On a daily basis I am asked “what brand of footwear is best” should I be buying New Balance or Nike? Or maybe Asics? Or how about those Sketchers that have a rounded bottom? I wish it was that simple but like most things in life, it’s just not. Our current “best practice” beliefs for the past 20 years suggests that you must know your foot type in order to know what sneaker/shoe is best for you.

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Effects of Prolonged or Frequent Sitting

By Jessica Villerot, DPT ~ Manager/Physical Therapist

woman-pain-poor-postureIf you are like the majority of individuals living and working in today’s society, you probably spend a good portion of your day sitting. You go from sitting at the breakfast table, to your desk at work, then driving from point A to point Z and back again, followed by finishing your day relaxing in the recliner. Ironically, even though our lives tend to be fast-paced, we seem to spend a significant amount of our day sitting. So many of our patients at Hampton Physical Therapy arrive with complaints of pain that are often contributed to the effects of prolonged and frequent sitting.

One of the first questions posed to our patients is “What do you do for a living?” and the response often follows as such, “I spend the majority of my work day at a desk, on a computer,” or “My commute is 45 minutes one way,” or “Well, I’m retired now, and spend a lot of my day reading, and watching television.” No matter your age, profession, or level of fitness, we cannot deny that most of us spend too much time sitting, and unfortunately, we are all subject to the adverse effects prolonged sitting can wreak on our bodies.

bad-and-good-posture2Although we attempt to be conscious of our posture, inevitably as time progresses and we become busier, we begin to fall into poor sitting posture. If someone were to snap a photograph of you after sitting for as little as ten minutes, most of us would demonstrate a slouched, curved spine, with a forward head and rounded shoulders. Looking something like the picture below showing both poor and good sitting posture.

So what does this mean for you and your body? Let us begin at the top and work our way down the spine. As your posture begins to decline, it places your shoulders in a rounded position and your head/neck forward. This, in turn, can cause tightness of the shoulder and neck muscles which can often lead to headaches, neck pain, shoulder pain, and paresthesia (numbness or tingling) into your upper extremities. As you sit, your lumbar spine (low back) loses its normal curvature, placing your pelvis into a posterior pelvic tilt, and placing more pressure on your sacrum (tailbone), and the discs in between your vertebrae.

Research shows that after only 1-2 hours of sitting, lumbar (low back) stiffness increases, therefore placing you at a higher risk for low back injury and pain. Prolonged sitting can also increase your chances of developing problems such as: sciatica, numbness/tingling/pain that radiates into the leg, and hip pain…just to name a few!

So what can you do to prevent the adverse effects of prolonged and frequent sitting? Well, one of the best things is to limit how often and how long you sit. Obviously, you cannot change the fact that you must sit at work, or drive the kids to and from their sporting events, but you can try to monitor how long you are sitting. Set a timer on your watch or cell phone that reminds you to stand or walk around every 30-45 minutes. The act of standing can decrease the pressure placed on the spine and allow your spine to return to its proper alignment.

stretchingSimple stretches and exercises can also decrease the effects of sitting. For example, performing shoulders rolls (forward and backward), neck range of motion (looking up & down, left & right), and scapular retraction (pulling shoulder blades together) every 1-2 hours can increase blood flow, decrease stiffness and tightness of muscles and joints. For the low back and hips, you can stand and perform back bends (arching your spine backward), legs swings (kicking leg forward & back, then side-to-side 10x/leg), and a piriformis stretch (seen below, hold the stretch for 30 seconds, repeat 3x/leg).

piriformis-stretch

Finally, proper sitting posture is critical. It is important to sit with head in a neutral position, looking straight ahead, shoulders down and back, support in curve of low back, thighs parallel to floor, and feet flat on the ground.

These are just a few simple recommendations, but if you feel your pain or symptoms need to be addressed by a healthcare provider, please feel free to call and speak to one of our physical therapists. We would be more than happy to answer any questions you may have. Hampton Physical Therapy has clinics in both Hampton & Seabrook, NH.