TPI-certified therapists from Arrow Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation in Woodbridge offer these valuable tips to help prevent golf injuries this year
With a treacherous winter behind us and warmer weather now on the way in New Jersey, this time of year opens up many doors that have been closed for the past few months. For some, one thing comes to mind more than any other: dusting off their clubs and heading to the nearest golf course to get working on their swing.
Sure, you may be able to practice your swing indoors or at the range—or travel to warmer locales if you’re lucky—during the colder months of the year, but for many, spring is the first chance in a long while to get out there and play 18 holes. For those who are eager to make moves and play their hearts out, we recommend using some caution while gradually easing into the season in order to prevent injuries from occurring.
While golf is a non-contact sport and doesn’t have the reputation for injury of other sports like football and basketball, injuries are still fairly prevalent. According to one study, about 60% of professionals and 40% of amateurs report an injury every year.
The main reason is that the golf swing is one of the most dynamic motions in sports. It may be low-impact, but many of the forces at work during the swing put a significant amount of stress on certain parts of the body, which can lead to injury over time.
By far the most common of all golf-related injuries is low back pain, which accounts for about 20-30% of all golf injuries. Other common injuries include elbow pain (such as golfer’s elbow), plantar fasciitis, shoulder, knee and hip pain. Most of these are considered overuse injuries, meaning they develop over time rather than after one specific incident. They can arise from a number of causes, some of which include bad posture, muscle weakness, poor swing mechanics, inflexibility and fitness limitations.
Golf injuries can interfere with your gameplay and prevent you from playing to the best of your abilities, but the good news is you can take some steps to prevent them from occurring in the first place. Owner/CEO Amit Gaglani, PT, OCS, CSCS and director of our Edison branch Kenneth Corcoran, DPT, SCS, who are both Titleist Performance Institute (TPI)-certified, recommend the following tips to prevent golf injuries:
- Warm up before playing with a brisk walk, some stretching of the shoulder, torso, hips and hamstrings, and some easy swings
- Only use a golf bag with wheels or two straps and avoid bending over
- Try to use proper posture by keeping your feet shoulder-width apart and distribute your weight evenly on both feet; avoid hunching over the ball
- Stay smooth throughout your swing and don’t overstrain any parts of your body, especially during the impact and follow-through phase
- Don’t hit the ball too hard or too fast, but execute consistent, easy swings
- As TPI-certified physical therapists, we also offer a comprehensive physical exam and evaluation, which will highlight any deficiencies in your stability or mobility that may translate to poor swing mechanics or injury
- We can also provide you with mobility, stability and strength exercises, which are all essential components that will improve your swing and reduce injury risk
Don’t let an injury mess with your golf game this year. Follow these tips and practice caution when heading to the links, and your body will thank you later on. For additional information or to schedule an appointment for an exam or any other issues, contact Arrow Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation in Woodbridge, Somerville, Union and Edison, NJ at 732-494-0895.