By Gabriel Ng
Every sport has risks of injuries whether it is a low or high impact sports. Most people percept golf as a relaxing and relatively injury free sports. However, the risks may not be because of the intensity. Golfing injuries are common because of the repetitive body movement that are overly accumulated and traumatized. The swing of the club demand explosive mechanical movement of the shoulders, arms, wrists, lower back and hips which can easily lead to strain, sprain, ligament, and tendon tears.
Some of the most common injuries that I have associated with are:
- Shoulder and neck over strained and accumulated traumatized conditions
- Shoulder blade and rotator cuff injuries
- Golfer’s Elbow – medial epicondylitis and Tennis Elbow – Lateral epicondylitis
- Lower back strain, sprain, or spasm
Even though the chances of wrist and hand injury are not as common, wrist injuries are commonly reported during the motion of the club hitting the ground. As a result ligamentous strain or tissue damage is common, in certain situations the hamate bone fracture does occur. Hence, the impact of the club hitting the ground causes high intensity of resistance force which makes an upward impact that causes injury to the tissue on the ligament of the elbow. Therefore, this high impact movement leads to golfer or tennis elbow.
The golfer’s posture and centre of gravity during his stance is important when completing a full swing plane. It is ideal to have a distance of the ball as well as avoid any imbalance strenuous on the shoulder and back.
The golfer physical posture and centre of gravity standing position matters to a complete full swing plane in order to enhance an ideal distance of the ball as well as avoid any imbalance strenuous on the shoulder and back.
In the first stage of the swing process, the activity on the left shoulder for the backswing involves the infraspinatus, rhomboid major, latissimus dorsi, external oblique and for the arm, the teres minor and major muscle group are eccentric(lengthened) and rotated upward.
The right rotator cuff muscles display a resistance force on the supraspinatus and infraspinatus muscle when the club is held horizontally. The upper and middle body rotating the trunk, retracting the scapular muscle, contracting the trapezius muscle and the middle body erector spinae concentric reveal a high intensity impact on these muscle group getting ready for the rapid highly explosive trunk rotation. (As shown on illustration below)
The range of mechanical motion of golfer lower back can put considerable pressure on the lumbar and the spine during the rapid swing movement. Golfer with instable and weak core muscle typically are at risk of mechanical lower back pain (MLBP) and Sacroiliac joint dyfunction (SIJD).
Hence, golfers experience lower back pain simply because of the swinging posture process from the backswing to downswing and then follow through. This biomechanical movement demand an extensive, rapid, and explosive force on the erector spinae muscle and the trunk. Thus, a flexible, stable, and strong core muscle is needed.
However, other related injuries can occur due to the imbalance of lower back muscle, weak core muscles, degenerative joint, joint inflexibility, inadequate warm up, over strain, excessive practice of swing before game, etc.