Category Archives: golf

Get on par (or under) with your golf game!

With the warm weather on its way, golfers are starting to dust off their clubs and head to the practice range or golf course to kick off the season. Although golf is usually perceived as a fairly low impact, leisurely activity, it has been estimated that every year roughly 40% of recreational golfers sustain an injury. Despite the high prevalence of golf injuries, many are preventable, with golf specific conditioning early in the season.

The golf swing requires adequate range of motion across many joints, combined with coordinated and powerful muscle contractions. Research has shown that improved overall fitness correlates with lower golf scores and less risk of injury. Proper conditioning for golf includes a variety of factors, such as the strengthening of particular muscle groups for a powerful swing, including the rotator cuff, scapular stabilizers and core musculature. Flexibility and mobility are also key components, especially in the hips, shoulders and trunk in order to achieve full and stable range of motion from the back swing to the follow through. The last fitness component essential for golf is balance. Poor balance will lead to faulty swing mechanics and compensatory patterns. Spending some time at the beginning of the golf season focusing on fitness and conditioning can add yards to your swing and help you play pain-free throughout the season.

Sheddon Physiotherapy and Sports Clinics physiotherapist, Robin Valadares, is currently completing his Level 2 Golf Specific Rehabilitation course taught by the Titleist Performance Institute (TPI). Robin is an avid golfer, and his love for the sport made him want to learn how to help golfers get stronger and play their best golf. TPI is the world’s leader in golf fitness, development and performance, with most of the top golfers in the world being advised/treated by TPI certified experts.

Below, Robin demonstrates some key exercises every golfer should include in their fitness routine.

Open Book:

Benefits: This exercise helps develop better flexibility in your chest muscles, thoracic spine, rib cage, shoulders and lower back.

Instructions: Lie on your side with your top knee bent at around 90 degrees supported on a medicine ball (or something of equal height to keep the pelvis level).  Place the arms out in front of you at shoulder level with the palms facing each other. Slowly lift your top arm up opening up your chest as you rotate the trunk, try to keep both shoulders on the ground, and your knee in contact with the ball, as you look over your top shoulder. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on each side 3 times.

Strengthening #1:

Benefits: This exercise helps develop trunk and lower body stability, upper body strength, core strength and rotary mobility.

Instructions: Attach a theraband, cable or tube to a low setting. While in a half kneeling position, hold hips directly under the trunk and keep shoulders back while holding the theraband. Engage your core before initiating any movement. Keep the lower body stable and rotate bringing the theraband across your body and ending with arms held over the shoulder. This exercise can be made more difficult by increasing the resistance, distance away from wall, or adding an unstable surface under the knees. Repeat 10 times per side for 3 sets.

Strengthening #2:

Benefits: This exercise helps develop trunk and lower body stability, upper body strength, core strength and rotary mobility.

Instructions: Loop a theraband around your arms. Start in a proper golf address position, engage your core and bring your arms slightly apart so there is tension on the theraband. Raise your arms into a half backswing slowly and follow through into a downswing. Repeat 10 times per side and 3 sets.

Don’t wait until injury prevents you from swinging a club. Get assessed while the season is  still young in order to find out how to prevent injuries, get stronger and bring your golf game to the next level. During your initial assessment, a detailed history of current and previous injuries will be addressed, as well as your golf performance goals. A physical assessment will also be completed in order to identify any areas of weakness or potential limitations. From this assessment, a plan will be put in place addressing any areas needing improvement, which is usually achieved through physiotherapy and golf specific exercises that will be taught to you.

Robin Valadares, Jason Kobrick and Erin Shapcott have all completed golf specific rehabilitation courses and can help answer any questions you may have.

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Bring your Golf Game to the Next Level

concussion types treatment Sheddon Physioyherapy Sports Clinic Oakville Mississauga

Would you like to improve your golf performance?

Are you constantly getting injured during the golf season?

Would you like to prevent golf injuries this summer?

If you answered “Yes!” to any of these questions, then keep reading. Sheddon Physiotherapy and Sports Clinics physiotherapist, Robin Valadares, recently attended a golf specific rehabilitation program taught by the Titleist Performance Institute (TPI). Robin is an avid golfer, and his love for the sport made him want to learn how to help golfers get stronger and play their best golf. TPI is the world’s leader in golf fitness, development and performance, with most of the top golfers in the world being advised/treated by TPI certified experts. During Robin’s certification program he learned TPI’s 16-step physical screening approach, which assesses how the body moves. These 16 tests analyze different movement patterns and how they can affect a player’s golf swing and potentially lead to injuries. Once specific limitations and faulty movement patterns are identified, the athlete can work towards enhancing or eliminating that physical limitation in order to maximize their game and prevent injury.

During your initial assessment, a detailed history of current and previous injuries will be addressed, as well as your golf performance goals. A physical assessment will also be completed in order to identify any areas of weakness or potential limitations. From this assessment, a plan will be put in place addressing any areas needing improvement, which is usually achieved through physiotherapy and golf specific exercises that will be taught to you.

As a physiotherapist, I look for areas where the body may be at risk of injury as well as working with players to overcome injury. We are part of the team, with the fitness coach/professional and most importantly the golf professional. I will NOT teach swing mechanics, but I will help foster a more apt body for those mechanics.” Robin Valadares

Don’t wait until injury prevents you from a swinging a club. Get assessed while the season is just starting in order to find out how to prevent injuries, get stronger and bring your golf game to the next level. Robin Valadares, Jason Kobrick and Erin Shapcott have all completed golf specific rehabilitation courses and can help answer any questions you may have.

Book Your Appointment

Questions? Contact us

concussion types treatment Sheddon Physioyherapy Sports Clinic Oakville Mississauga

Swing into Golf without Lower Back Pain

With the warmer weather approaching, the driving ranges and golf courses will become much busier with golfers eager to start the season. Although golf is usually perceived as a fairly low impact, leisure activity, it has been estimated that every year roughly 40% of recreational golfers sustain an injury, with the most common site of injury being the lower back. Research has shown that the compression force going through the lumbar spine in amateur golfers when driving the ball, is roughly 6100 N. In comparison, cadaver studies have shown that a lumbar disc will herniate at forces around 5500 N. As such, although the golf swing appears fluid and easy, there is certainly enough force produced in the spine to lead to lower back injury. Many other factors can lead to lower back pain, including aspects of the golf swing itself, overall fitness level and regular habits on the golf course, such as how you transport your clubs, whether you warm up or not and how often you practice. 

Why do golfers get lower back pain and what can you do to prevent it?

Core strength

The core muscles play a critical role in protecting and stabilizing the lower back during the golf swing. Furthermore, using these muscles properly during the golf swing has also been shown to help increase club head speed and power. Research has shown that golfers with lower back pain have decreased core strength and don’t use their core properly during their golf swing. A golf specific core exercise program begins with learning how to isolate the key muscles to progressions on how to incorporate them into your golf swing. TIP: Next time you’re getting ready to hit the ball, reduce the amount of stress on the lower back structures by turning on your core muscles. In order to do this, think about drawing in your belly button and tightening your abdominal muscles prior to starting your backswing.

Flexibility

Flexibility is a key component, especially in the hips, shoulders and trunk in order to achieve a full range of motion from the back swing to the follow through. Research has shown that lack of rotation in the hips (especially the lead hip) will put increased stress through the spine. TIP: If you are lacking mobility in your hips or lower back, you may want to try turning both your feet out 25 degrees when setting up to hit the ball. This slight toe-out position will decrease the amount of rotation that needs to come from the spine.

Transporting your clubs

clubs

As nice as it would be to have a caddy carrying your clubs, the vast majority of recreational golfers have to depend on themselves to lug their clubs around the course. Research has shown that golfers who carry their clubs are significantly more likely to develop lower back pain, since the weight of the bag leads to increased compression loads on the spine. However, pull carts can also be problematic, as they require twisting of the spine, and riding in a golf cart doesn’t allow the muscles to warm up and stay loose as they would while walking. TIP: If you’re an avid golfer with lower back pain, your best bet is to splurge and get a remote controlled electronic cart that you can walk beside; second best would be a push cart.

Golf Club Fit

Off the shelf clubs are a standard length, with womens’ clubs designed for someone who is 5’4″ and mens’ clubs for someone who is 5’10″. As such, if you’re a 6’3″ male, buying a set of clubs off the shelf, you will certainly notice that you need to bend a lot more during your downswing to make contact with the ball. This will lead to increased flexion and side bending in the spine, which over a course of 18 holes will eventually lead to strain on the lower back. TIP: Spending the extra money to get your clubs properly fitted, will help your swing and your lower back.

Posture

Set-up posture plays a crucial role in how much stress will be generated in the lower back. If the lower back is slouched, then there is increased risk for injury. TIP: Make sure that when you’re addressing the ball that your knees are slightly bent and you are bending from the hips, not the back.

posture

Want to read more tips on preventing golf injuries, click here.

At Sheddon Physiotherapy and Sports Clinic, our level 4 FITforeGOLF™ certified providers focus on innovative research on the science of golf health and performance. Therapy focuses on swing mechanics, coupled with a golfer’s specific injury to get the him/her back on the course faster and injury free.

This blog was based on the works of David Lindsay PT MSc and Dean Walker CPGA who have taught excellent courses to our therapists through the FITforeGOLF™ program. For more information you can visit the FITforeGOLF™ website at www.fitforegolf.com

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Tips to Preventing Golf Injuries

by Erin Shapcott

With the warm weather on its way, many people are starting to dustoff their clubs and head to the practice range and golf course to kick off their season. Although golf is usually perceived as a fairly low impact, leisurely activity, it has been estimated that every year roughly 40% of recreational golfers sustain an injury. Furthermore, research has shown that 50% of all golf injuries will become chronic, leading to an average of 4-5 weeks of lost playing time. Despite the high prevalence of golf injuries, the majority of them are preventable.What follows are some of the more common causes of golf injuries, as well as tips on how to avoid any throughout the season.

1. Repetitive Practice

One of the most common causes of injury in both professional and recreational golfers is repetitive practice. If research shows that 10 000 hours of practice is needed to become an expert in a sport, how are golfers supposed to improve their game and not get injured without repetitive practice? The key is gradually increasing your training. The mistake most people make is going out the first warm day in March after not swinging a club in 5 months, taking out their Big Bertha and whacking an extra large bucket of balls, and then returning the following day to do it all again. When returning to golf, it is important to gradually increase your training volume by starting with a small bucket and work your way up to the jumbo size. It is also important to gradually increase the intensity of your swing by only using a ½ to ¾ swing with your short irons and over time progress to full swings with your woods. Progress your training over a number of weeks and remember to take at least one day off in between practice sessions.

2. Insufficient Warm-up

Another prevalent factor leading to injury, and one of the easiest to avoid, is not properly warming up prior to playing. An appropriate warm-up should take about 15 minutes to complete before taking your 1st shot, whether it’s on the practice range or the first tee. The warm up should being with a general whole body exercise, such as brisk walking or stair climbing, parking your car further from the clubhouse can easily achieve this portion of the warm up. Following this should be stretching of the key muscles, including the shoulders, back and hips, with each stretch being held for 20 seconds. The last portion of the warm up should include golf specific drills, such as gently swinging a short iron back and forth several times, working up to a full swing with the longer clubs. This ideal warm up will prepare your body and mind and help prevent injury.

3. Poor Technique

Whether you’re at the driving range or playing 18 holes, the powerful movement of the golf swing will likely be repeated over 100 times. If you’re not using the proper equipment and/or proper technique, you are at a higher risk for injury. Getting fitted properly for clubs and investing in lessons will improve your game and prevent time off from injury.

4. Poor Conditioning

The golf swing involves powerful muscle contractions coming from multiple body parts, with a lot of stress being generated on certain muscles, joints and ligaments. Research has shown that improved overall fitness correlates with lower golf scores and less risk of injury. Proper conditioning for golf includes a variety of factors, such as the strengthening of particular muscle groups for a powerful swing, including the rotator cuff, scapular stabilizers and core musculature. Flexibility is also a key component, especially in the hips, shoulders and trunk in order to achieve a full range of motion from the back swing to the follow through. Another fitness component that is often overlooked in golf is cardiovascular fitness. Walking the average golf course is equivalent to walking 10 kilometers. Once you add a few fairway hills, sand bunkers and carrying or pulling your clubs, the peak heart rate for most golfers can get as high as 80% of the maximum heart rate value. The last fitness component essential for golf is balance. Poor balance will lead to faulty swing mechanics and compensatory patterns. Spending some time at the beginning of the golf season focusing on general fitness and conditioning can drop your handicap and help you play pain free throughout the season.

If you want more information on how to treat your current golf injury or develop a golf specific training program to reduce the risk of injury this season, your Sheddon Physiotherapist can get you started. Call us at (905) 849-4576 or visit us at our website Sheddon Physiotherapy and Sports Clinic.

Did you know…

Erin Shapcott is a physiotherapist at Sheddon but also a personal trainer and avid runner. She has been giving community talks at the local Running Room with great success. If you and someone you know have questions regarding running education, feel free to contact Erin at (905) 849-4576

By Dana Clark