By Julie Paolino, PT, MS, ATC, MCTA
Integrated Rehabilitation Services Managing Partner
Whether you are an avid golfer or someone who puts on your spikes only a couple of times a year, optimal fitness can improve your performance and prevent golf-related injury. If your body is not running smoothly when the season starts, you will not hit the ball properly which often leads to further injury, poor performance, and ongoing frustration – not a good recipe for the enjoyment of this popular sport.
Physical Therapy as a Solution
Golfers with muscle tightness, joint restriction or poor body mechanics can struggle to consistently execute their golf swings. Swing faults are most often manifested as poor form while addressing the ball, executing the backswing and the downswing, or completing the follow-through. Over time, golfers may develop golf-related injuries or aggravate pre-existing neck, shoulder, back, hand, wrist or elbow injuries.
Golfers seeking help from a physical therapist with expertise in golf performance can achieve proper biomechanics and body movement while avoiding injury, eliminating pain from an existing injury and/or improving the consistency of the golf swing.
Your physical therapist will help you customize a rehabilitative program to:
- Identify the biomechanics challenges that are impeding your peak golf performance
- Create a treatment plan to address your specific injury or the deficit which is impacting your golf game
- Provide manual therapy to ensure healing
- Provide therapeutic exercises to achieve long-term recovery
This four step process is designed to help each patient attain the following goals and outcomes:
|Eliminate pain||Get targeted treatment to quickly treat pain that impedes performance.|
|Increase mobility||Assess and improve mobility of all joints (e.g., the neck, shoulder, back). Joint limitations could negatively impact all aspects of your golf swing.|
|Improve flexibility||Assess and address key muscle group issues. It’s important to evaluate the flexibility of your hips and shoulder musculature as they are both critical to your follow through and your backswing.|
|Enhance balance||Evaluate dynamic balance and develop an improvement plan for improved shot follow through. Poor control of hip, abdominal, and hip musculature could cause you to finish your swing off balance.|
|Increase strength||Evaluate core and limb strength and offer manual therapy and exercises to address related swing faults.|
Create a Golf Team for Optimum Results
An integrated evaluation and treatment plan can help you maximize your ability to transfer energy through your body and through the club head with better speed and efficiency. Work with a golf professional to address your swing deficits and with a physical therapist to eliminate your physical limitations. Together, they can help you with your body and swing mechanics which will boost your enjoyment of this challenging game. In addition, golfers who invest in physical therapy will reduce or eliminate golf-related injury pain, improve late-game stamina, develop power for hitting longer drives, and enhance the accuracy and consistency of their short game.
Be sure to stay ahead of your symptoms and contact a physical therapist who can assess your condition at the first sign of injury to avoid being kept off the links this summer.
Contact Julie, an avid golfer and local club champion, for answers to your questions at 860-870-8272.