Research statistics suggest that almost 25 million U.S. individuals play golf for recreational purposes as well as to maintain their physical fitness and social networking. Obviously, just like other sports activities, golf players also suffer moderate to severe injuries that affect their sports performance and normal daily activities.
The most commonly reported sport injuries (or sports associated complaint) in golfers is lower back pain that is attributed to the characteristic golfer’s swing posing significant stress and strain on spinal ligaments and muscles. The most common causes of lower back pain in golfers include stress fracture, chronic inflammation and/or disc prolapse.
Research data suggest that most golfers seek pharmacological treatment for the management of pain, but due to increasing awareness and rising trend of holistic care, more and more people are adopting physical therapy and chiropractic care for the management of chronic lower back pain associated with golf.
The pain, discomfort and soreness that is most prominent along the outer edge of the elbow is referred to as golfer’s elbow. Golfers also develop tennis elbow quite frequently (pain or soreness involving inner aspect of forearm). The pain is most prominent along the base of the thumb and radiates to involve the wrist or even radial aspect of the forearm. The primary pathophysiologic event is the chronic inflammation involving tendons and muscle fibers. The golfer’s swing may lead to the tearing of rotator cuff muscles or inflammation due to micro-fiber damage (rotator cuff tendinitis) that may interfere with the range of motion and sports performance.
Hamate is a small carpal bone (along the ulnar side of hand) and may get injured in golfers due to position and pressure from the butt end of the club. The fracture of the hook of hamate (a small outgrowth from the hamate) is the most common carpal bone injury reported in golfers. Hallux rigidus (HR) is acute or chronic inflammation of first metatarsophalangeal joint (MTPJ) due to persistent stress or strain present as pain and stiffness of big toe.
In addition chiropractic therapy is also helpful in restoring full range of action after mild, moderate or severe injury. Sports injuries in professional athletes can greatly affect the performance and athletic endurance; moreover, the injuries take longer to heal and recovery is slow and incomplete due to recurrent assaults (if sports personnel continue to perform the physical activity).
James W. Brantingham presented the case study of a 32 year old professional golf player who suffered chronic injury of hallux rigidus and presented to the chiropractic clinic with a history of pain and stiffness for a period of 7 months. Brantingham performed chiropractic manipulations like graded axial elongation, mobilization of the sesamoids, adjustment of ankle and foot dysfunction, chiropractic adjustment of the first metatarsophalangeal joint, stretching exercises and lastly big toe and foot flexor strengthening exercises. The 32 year old golfer received 17 therapy sessions during a period of 10 months and resumed normal physical mobility and range of motion after just a few therapy sessions.
Chiropractic practitioners offer regular assessment and guidance regarding endurance exercises to decrease the risk of injury and promote physical mobility across the spinal and limb joints and muscles.