The Australian Open Golf Championship is our nation’s oldest golf tournament. First played over a hundred years ago, the event this year takes place at the Australian Golf Club, Rosebery, Sydney for a record 20th time.
Bathurst Chiropractor, Ben Purcell, explains that whilst golf is not generally regarded as requiring a great degree of physical fitness, it in fact incorporates balance and coordination with both cardiovascular exercise and strength training. Unfortunately, getting inspired to get back out on the golf course can sometimes result in an injury. Below, Ben Purcell has compiled some tips to avoid the most common golfing injuries, for those of us who are ‘all fired up’ by the Australian Open.
Lower Back Pain is one of the most common injuries among golfers at all levels. The repeated action of the golf swing, the body rotation during the swing and using an incorrect technique can all lead to lower back pain, which can affect the spinal joints, discs, tendons and muscles. Poor posture and carrying golf clubs can also increase the risk of back strain.
Avoiding lower back pain begins with learning the fundamentals of a good, solid golf swing. Working with a golf professional will help you achieve this. For those golfers who carry their own bag, alternating shoulders between each hole or using double shoulder straps to balance the weight will help. Your chiropractor can also help you increase the range of motion in your lumbar spine and in the rotation of your lead hip, reducing the risk of developing lower back pain.
Knee Pain is also common issue amongst golfers, particularly in the leading knee which bears most of the body weight at the end of the swing. Using a proper technique during your downswing and being sure to warm up with appropriate stretches for your calves, thighs, hamstrings and core muscles before each round can help prevent knee pain. Foot orthotics or knee braces can also be beneficial in relieving knee pain. Ask your Chiropractor if these would be appropriate in your case.
Wrist Pain from overuse is very common in golfers, particularly in the leading wrist. The repetitive movements of the swing can cause wear and tear on the tendons of the wrist, resulting in tendinitis. Hitting the ground before the ball in a poorly executed shot can also cause damage to the joints and tendons of the wrist. Exercises to strengthen the muscles of the hand and forearm and taking advice on correct after-swing mechanics from a golf professional will all help to avoid wrist injuries.
Elbow Pain is most commonly due to tendinitis, caused by a poor swing action that results in either hitting the ground before the ball or over-swinging. The likelihood of this problem occurring can be reduced by working with a golf professional on the mechanics of your swing and stretching of the arms and wrists before play. Doing regular exercises using resistance bands will strengthen the muscles and tendons around the elbow.
Shoulder Pain experienced by golfers is most often a rotator cuff injury in the leading shoulder. The shoulder rotates during the golf swing, and an incorrect swing action can cause inflammation, irritation and pain. If you have already worked on your golf swing with a professional and are confident that your action is correct, stretches before each game and doing additional stretching exercises to increase flexibility and endurance will help you maintain the health of your shoulders.
How to Get Help
If you have sustained an injury that is holding you back from enjoying your golf game or you feel that your mobility and flexibility have decreased over the years, call (02) 6331 1004 now to schedule an appointment with Bathurst Chiropractic.
You may not be playing in this year’s Australian Open, but by following the above tips from Ben Purcell, you can hope to have a full and injury-free golfing year ahead – and who knows, there is always the 2018 Open to aim for!