Why Do Injuries Occur In Golf?
Injuries occur in all athletic events quite frequently, certain sports more so than others. Golf is no different than any other sport. The severity of injuries in golf usually are not as severe as in other sports. The scenario of a 300 lb. defensive lineman slamming into the side of your knee tearing every possible ligament structure in the knee will never happen in the sport of golf. An interesting visual if you combined the sports of football and golf onto the same playing field, but inappropriate for this paper.
There are two types of injuries classified by professionals in the fields of athletic training and sports medicine. The two types of injuries are: 1) acute and 2) chronic. The above example of the football player is classified as an acute injury. An acute injury can be defined as the trauma in the body occurring immediately after the injury. Refer to the football player example above for a reminder.
(For us older golfers, remember Joe Theisman of the Redskins and Lawrence Taylor’s leg breaking tackle? Acute injury.) Relating an acute injury to golf is a little more difficult. Probably the easiest, and maybe most the common, acute injury in golf, occurs while swinging and you hit a rock or something that creates an injury to your wrist. That would be the best example in the sport of golf of an acute injury. Overall, acute injuries tend to be rare in golf because contact by the body with external forces is rare. My back is always killing me! The second type of injury, chronic, is much more prevalent when it comes to the sport of golf. A chronic injury is one that occurs over time. Think of it as a “wear and tear” injury. These are usually the result of the body breaking down over time. A great sports example outside of golf is when you hear about a baseball pitcher having tendonitis in the elbow.
Tendonitis is an inflammation of the elbow resulting from the stresses placed upon it from throwing. Over time the elbow becomes tired and eventually injured from the number of pitches thrown. If you are a runner and, after a certain amount of time, your knees begin to hurt, this is usually a chronic injury. When we talk about golf, the majority of injuries are chronic. They tend to be a direct result of the golf swing (just like the pitcher’s elbow). Usually the chronic injuries in golf show up in the lower back. If chronic injuries are caught soon enough in the cycle, rest and proper treatment (i. massage, chiropractic care) will heal them. But if you wait too long the body is going to “break,” and then you will not be playing any golf for a long time.
This is where the unfortunate situation of surgery and other invasive procedures are considered. So a couple of questions we must ask when it comes to chronic injuries in relation to golf are: how do they occur, and how do we prevent them? Chronic injuries occur as a result of the body becoming fatigued and eventually “breaking down.” The muscles, ligaments, and tendons of your body are required to perform the activity of swinging a golf club. Over time this activity causes fatigue within your body. As the body continues to fatigue, or get tired, the body gets sore. This is the first indicator of a developing chronic injury. If you continue with the activity you’re participating in, with soreness in the body, eventually your body will break down. This “break down” will be in the form of maybe a pulled muscle, muscle stiffness, tightness, or some other type of inflammation. All of the above examples are a result of structures in your body breaking down from fatigue and overuse. Even if just on one swing you feel “your back go out,” nine out of ten times it is a chronic injury, and that last swing was the “piece of straw that broke the camel’s back.
” How to Prevent Chronic Injuries in Golf We all know that the golf swing is a repetitive movement, meaning the body is performing the same activity over and over again. This creates fatigue in the body over time. And if over time our body can’t support the number of swings we are taking, it is eventually going to break down. There are three variables we have when it comes to the prevention of chronic injuries in golf. Number one is workloads. Workloads can be defined as the number of swings that the body takes with a club over a given period of time. That time frame can be seven days or an entire tour season. Number two is efficiency of your mechanics. When we say “efficiency of mechanics” we are talking about how biomechanically correct your individual swing is.