To swing or not to swing? How is the question

We all have friends who go to the driving range, Dads who play 19 holes weekly and partners who dabble in crazy golf. It doesn't matter if you play for fun or are a professional like Tiger Woods, there are similarities amongst all golfers. The very nature of golf means you become very one sided. As humans we are symmetrical in our muscular-skeletal structure and therefore performing an asymmetrically sport can have an affect on our bodies and how we perform our swing.

There are 4 millions golfers in the UK and of these 57% report injuries or discomfort with their swing. Most injuries that are presented to our clinic amongst avid golfers are shoulder injuries, knee and low back pain and wrist and hand injuries. There can be many reasons associated with why golfers get these typical injuries. Mostly this is down to a number of reasons including : overuse injuries when a lot of golf is played, incorrect swing technique and failure to warm up.

You can analyse the golf swing into five different parts and you can see the demand placed upon the main muscle groups at any given point during the swing.

An overview of two of the main stages of the golf swing are analysed briefly below:

Back swing (the time the club starts movement to the top of the back swing) - the most active muscle in the upper body is trapezius on the right side and on the left side was a different muscle from the shoulder group called subscapularis. What is interesting is in the lower body on the right side the hamstring muscles work the hardest but on the left it is the low back and core muscles. This shows the muscle cross pattern that happens throughout they body highlighting the different load placed upon joints in the body at any one time during the swing.

Forward swing (top of the swing to when the club is horizontal to the ground) - the trapezius on the left is most overworked and on the right side it is the chest muscles (pectorals). In the lower body on the right side it is the gluteal muscles whilst on the left it is the adductor muscles of the leg.

The golf swing has changed over time going from the classic golf swing to the modern golf swing which uses less rotation of the low back and pelvis which places a greater demand on the upper body when performing the twisting swing motion. By understanding the different parts of the golf swing, we at AMG Osteo Clinics are able to construct a sports management programme tailored specifically to you. We target specific muscles and joints to improve function and performance and reduce injury.

It is important to be able to analyse the golf swing as most injuries occur at impact. If a golfer miss-hits the ground - there is a change in the forces to the wrist and subsequently up to the rest of the body. Most golfers we see tend to overuse their shoulders to compensate for not using their trunk and low back as much during the swing. Therefore having treatment not only helps prevent further injuries but also helps to improve your swing.

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