Summer hurts!

by Dan Atkinson

Summer is approaching which means a lot of us are now dusting off the golf clubs after a long winter in the shed/garage……..bedroom.

The physicality of golf is not something to mock, particularly in the recreational golfer. Smooth, efficient, effortless, all words not used to describe the amateurs swing. These factors mean that we do not use our joints in an efficient manner, creating higher forces on joints and soft tissues that are likely to be under prepared for those demands. In the right-hand golfer these areas tend to be the right side of the lower back and the right shoulder. 

There are technical reasons why these joints have a higher demand in an inefficient swing, but best left to your local golf professional! 

From a physiotherapist, I would look at the following, 

1. The flexibility in the shoulders, back and hips (amongst other joints) 

2. What you have been doing over the winter 

3. How much you plan on playing 

From these questions we can formulate a plan on where you need to work to improve your game time depending on how much you want to play. 

Right shoulder pain? Tends to be an inability for the body to slow down the rotation of the club after you have hit the ball. In context, the mid handicap golfer will swing their driver around 94mph, that’s a lot of speed to cope with. If you haven’t played over the winter, or played another upper limb sport (tennis, baseball, squash) it is very likely you will need to ease your way back into the sport to help your body develop the characteristics needed. I advise using the driving range and starting at 50 balls hit over 35-45 minutes with a mid-iron a couple of times per week. This can be combined with strength exercises for the shoulder which assists the process further. 

This process applies to most things we do in the summer. In physiotherapy we will see an influx of patients this time of year with gardening related injuries. Stereotypically this occurs in a person who isn’t usually active in a strength-based activity over the winter and then tries to dig and pull up roots for two straight days! 

So, this Fridays lesson:

Ease your way into your summer activities to avoid a summer in pain!