Stay on the Green by Preventing Golf Injuries

GolfBB Stay on the Green by Preventing Golf InjuriesGolf is both a competitive sport and a relaxing pastime for young and old. Whether you play professionally or just as a way to unwind, golf is still a sport which can cause serious injury. Most golf injuries come from overuse; repetitive swinging motions that wear on muscles and joints which can lead to injury. However, like with most sports, injuries can be prevented if you have an understanding of what they are and what causes them. Simply a change in form can make all the difference.

 

Common Golf Injuries

Golfer’s Elbow

One of the most common golf injuries is Golfer’s Elbow or medial epicondylitis. Medial epicondylitis is an inflammation of the tendons that attach your forearm muscles to your elbow. Inflammation is caused by repeating the same motions — in this case, swinging a golf club — over and over again.

Lower Back Pain

Another common injury that golfers experience is lower back pain. Back pain can be caused by pulling or straining the muscles in your lower back during your swing or from carrying your golf bag. Also, people who suffer from chronic back pain might have difficulty with their golf game.

Wrist Injuries

Golfers often sustain wrists injuries. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is an overuse injury that affects the median nerve in your wrist. The median nerve travels from your wrist to your forearm through the carpal tunnel. In addition to the nerve, the carpal tunnel also contains flexor tendons so when swelling occurs, they put pressure on the median nerve. CTS can be minor to serious depending on the extent of the injury.

Another wrist injury golfers might experience is DeQuervain’s Tendinitis. DeQuervain’s Tendinitis is an inflammation of the tendons in the thumb, causing pain in the wrist near where your thumb connects to it.

Other wrist injuries include Wrist Impaction Syndrome, which is caused caused when the bones of the wrist bang into one another during repetitive movements and ECU Tendon Subluxation, which is when the sheath holding the wrist tendon begins sliding around.

Knee Pain

Knee pain and injury has plagued even professional golfers like Tiger Woods. It can be caused by any number of issues including arthritis, a torn meniscus or an ACL tear.

 

Prevention

There are several things you can do prior to stepping on the green to keep your golf game from being impacted by injury.

Warming up might seem a little silly since golf is a lower impact sport, but stretching and preparing your muscles before any sport is recommended. Stretch out your arms, back and legs. Practice your swing, starting off slowly at first to check your form.

If you are finding yourself sore after a round of golf, try conditioning between games. Light exercise like walking or jogging can help to strengthen your muscles, or try an electric muscle stimulator to help you recover from soreness but also build up muscles in your arms, legs and back to reduce your risk of injury.

Make sure your swing isn’t the issue. Swinging a golf club is a full body motion, utilizing multiple muscle groups as you simultaneously turn your body while hitting the ball. Think to yourself: how’s my posture? Are my feet shoulder-width apart? Am I hunching over? Having proper form before you swing can help reduce the risk of injury. When you do hit the ball, make sure your swing is fluid. Don’t try to hit the ball too hard. Harder swings don’t necessarily mean a better game. Work on having a smooth, consistent tempo.

If you’re carrying your own bag, make sure to keep your back straight and use the strength of your legs to lift. This will help reduce the risk of back injury.

Proper footwear is also key. Just like with soccer, having the right cleats is important. Golf shoes with short cleats are recommended. Long cleats can dig too far into the ground, locking your foot down when you swing which can lead to knee injuries like a torn ACL.

With the right preparation, golf can be a fun, relaxing game. Stay safe and keep swinging!

 

Sources:

http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00137

http://www.med.nyu.edu/pmr/residency/resources/PMR%20clinics%20NA/PMR%20clinics%20NA_sports%20med/golf%20injuries%20and%20rehab.pdf

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/fitness/in-depth/golf/art-20047434

http://golf.about.com/od/fitnesshealth/tp/commoninjuries.htm

http://www.spine-health.com/conditions/sports-and-spine-injuries/golf-and-low-back-pain

http://www.cybergolf.com/golf_news/carpal_tunnel_syndrome_golf

Knee Injuries: More Common in Women?

knee pain women Knee Injuries: More Common in Women?

Knee injuries are no laughing matter; 55% of all sports related injuries are knee injuries. But who is at greatest risk for knee injuries when it comes to sports? It turns out that women are 4-6 times more likely to suffer a sports related injury than their male counterparts in the same sport. Out of all sports related injuries, the most common injuries among female athletes are anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries.

The reasons for women having an increased risk of knee injury has nothing to do with strength or ability; it comes down to genetics and anatomical factors, form, and training. Simply put, women are built differently than men and some of those differences put added pressure on their knee joints. Thankfully, the factors contributing to the increase in injuries have been widely researched and while genetics can’t be changed, form corrections and training programs have been proven to prevent knee injuries in women’s sports.

Within the sports community, female athletes who play basketball and soccer are somewhere between 2-10 times more likely to suffer an ACL injury compared with male athletes, according to the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine. The reason for the high rate of ACL injuries within these particular sports can be attributed to that most ACL injuries—whether in male or female athletes— are caused by non contact mechanisms. These include common movements like landing from a jump or making a lateral pivot while running. But why are women so susceptible to ACL injuries? Let’s take a look at the factors and what can be done to reduce the risk.

Genetic and Anatomical Factors:

ACL Knee Injuries: More Common in Women?

The anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, is one of the four major ligaments of the knee. It connects the front of the tibia (shinbone) with the back of the femur (thighbone). It helps provide stability to the knee joint.

The strength and use of the surrounding muscle groups, such as quadriceps and hamstrings, have a serious impact on the ACL. When running and jumping, women tend to lead with their quads, whereas male athletes seem to have a better balance between the quads and the hamstring muscles. A balance between quads and hamstrings means the impact is more evenly distributed, thus reducing the pressure on the knee.

Another reason for increased knee pressure is that women have a wider pelvis which creates a larger Q-angle at the knee. This often results in a more “knock-kneed” posture in women, leaving the ACL more vulnerable for injury.

Q Angle 600 Knee Injuries: More Common in Women?

(image via http://blog.footsmart.com)

Additional anatomical factors in ACL tears such as the diameter of the ACL are still being researched.

Some doctors think women are more prone an ACL injury because of the differences in the amount of circulating hormones such as estrogen. Certain hormones give ligaments strength and flexibility. Fluctuations in hormone levels may have some impact on the function of the nerves and muscles and may lead to an increased risk of injury.

Form:

When researchers at the Loyola University Medical Center sought to explain why this increased risk of ACL injuries in women was occurring, they uncovered that poor form when landing a jump contributed to the risk.

“Women tend to land with the knees straighter and feet rotated inwards, compared to men who tend to land with more of a bend in the knee and the feet rotated slightly outward,” says Dr. Patrick McCulloch, an orthopedic surgeon with the Methodist Center for Sports Medicine in Houston who was involved in the research. “This puts the knee in a better position to absorb shock.”

After this discovery, the same researchers spent six weeks correcting these form issues resulted in a reduction in the likelihood of ACL injury by up to 50%.

Prevention Through Training:

As doctors and orthopedic surgeons were seeing an increase in ACL injuries in women, training and conditioning programs were designed to correct problems with form, strengthen knees and surrounding muscles and reduce the risk of injury. FIFA, the governing body of the World Cup and other international soccer tournaments, has designed a warm up program specifically designed to reduce the rate of ACL injuries in soccer players (male and female).

Teams that perform FIFA 11+  program at least twice a week, for 20 minutes at time, experience 30-50% fewer injured players, according to FIFA.

In addition, the Sports Physical Therapy department at Massachusetts General Hospital have put together a detailed sports conditioning program to help increase knee strength and reduce knee injuries specifically in female athletes through active warm-up, stretching, strengthening exercises, plyometric drills, and agility drills.

While ACL injuries for female athletes were reaching epidemic proportions, through understanding the problems causing the increase and creating prevention programs based on research, the rate of these injuries is on the decline.

Sources:

http://www.ucsfhealth.org/education/a_females_aching_knees/

http://www.prevention.com/fitness/strength-training/risk-knee-injury-increases-women

http://loyolamedicine.org/newswire/features/sports-medicine-surgeon-urges-girls-soccer-teams-try-acl-tear-prevention-drills

http://wcbe.org/post/epidemic-knee-injuries-young-female-athletes

http://www.aaos.org/news/aaosnow/nov10/research3.asp

http://www.ucdenver.edu/academics/colleges/medicalschool/departments/Orthopaedics/clinicalservices/sportsmed/Documents/WISH_SPORTSMED_Female%20Knee%20Injuries%20and%20ACL.pdf

http://www.athletestrengthandperformance.com/acl-anatomy-gender-disparity/

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2465242/

http://www.atipt.com/news-media/blog/acl-tears-and-knee-pain-more-common-women-activity

Cold vs. Hot: Which Wins and When?

We’ve all heard the advice: “put ice on it” or “give it some heat,” but you might not be sure when to apply cold or heat. Both hot and cold therapies have advantages for pain relief depending on the type of injury.

For the best one to try, follow these suggestions:

Use cold for acute pain and new injuries that are swollen and inflamed. This includes recent tissue damage and sprains. Ice should be applied after exercise to the area of injury using a towel to protect the skin.

If you have a chronic injury, apply ice and compression after a workout. Use cold gel packs, such as Chattanooga, and wraps like Durasoft to help constrict blood flow and reduce pain.

Need both cold and compression at the same time? Try Aircast CryoCuff cold therapy.

Heat is for chronic pain, muscle spasms, joint pain or an injury more than 24 to 48 hours old. Heat stimulates blood flow and soothes overworked muscles. Heat should only be used before exercising. To apply heat, use a heating pad, a hot wet towel or warm shower. Chattanooga has a range of quality heat products to ease chronic pain.

Treat It Right:

  • Apply ice or heat for no longer than 10-20 minutes at a time.
  • A combination of heat and cold can be used after an injury to keep swelling down and increase circulation.
  • For muscle tears or strains, start with ice and move on to heat when the inflammation has reduced.
  • Listen to your body. Heat or cold should not worsen the pain or injury.

Talk to your doctor if you have further questions about hot or cold therapy.

Sources:
http://www.prevention.com/fitness/fitness-tips/ice-or-heat-injury
http://www.healthline.com/health/chronic-pain/treating-pain-with-heat-and-cold#2
http://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?ContentTypeID=1&ContentID=4483
http://orthopedics.about.com/cs/sportsmedicine/a/iceorheat.htm

How Common is Knee Pain?

Knee pain is one of the most common ailments amongst athletes and non-athletes alike.  People of all ages are also affected by knee pain.  The reason for the prevalence of knee pain is because the knee supports most of the body’s weight and is involved with both daily activities and movement during sports.

Knee pain is typically caused by:

  • knee injuries
  • overuse
  • age
  • natural wear and tear

 

It’s understandable that activities and sports that involve sharp turns, lifting weights and the like would cause strain on the knee. However, many athletes do not know that running is a very stressful activity on the knee, which is why sports that involve running also tend to have higher risk of knee pain and knee injuries.  This can be during both contact (such as football) and non-contact (such as jogging) sports.

People in professions that involve a lot of lifting, walking or kneeling may also feel the effects of knee pain.  A great example of this is in mail carriers, a profession widely known to be hard on the knees.  Other types of overuse activities such as gardening and recreational activities like hiking can also stress the knee.

As mentioned above, the natural wear and tear of the knee from age and use can also lead to knee pain, which contributes to the widespread presence of knee pain.  Other physical factors, such as very tall individuals, may also be a cause of knee pain.

As you can see, there are many ways that all types of people may experience knee pain.  To minimize your risk of knee pain (or to reduce knee pain you’re already feeling), check out our knee braces and supports.  You can also read our Knee Pain and Injury Guide for more information on knee injuries and knee pain.

Common Knee Injuries: Meniscus Tears

The knee joint is comprised of many structures, one of which is the C-shaped piece of cartilage known as the meniscus. The meniscus cushions the outer and inner edges of the knee and helps stabilize the knee joint.

Did you know that one of the most common injuries in the knee is a meniscus tear?

That’s because meniscus tears can occur in all types of people, whether they’re young, old, athletic, or not very active at all. Many meniscus tears are caused by the twisting and turning motions during sports. Others can be caused by something as simple as tripping while running uphill or by lifting something heavy. It’s important to note that the meniscus tends to wear down and weaken as we age. That can cause meniscus tears and knee pain as patients approach the later stages in life, even if they are not particularly active.

Since the meniscus is so susceptible to injury, it’s often recommended to wear a knee brace for meniscus tears. They can be helpful whether you play sports, have a previous meniscus injury, or if you’re getting up there in age and would like extra support before physical activity. Most people are not educated about the frequency of meniscus tears, so you’re already one step ahead of the pack!