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Beware: Improper Golf Posture Raises Risk of Rotator Cuff Tears

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Golf is a widely- popular sport that people of any gender and age can play. Although golf is classified as a technical, low-impact sport with minimal risk of injuries, numerous golfers experience injuries while engaging in the sport. A study reveals that out of 461 registered amateur golfers, 57.2% had reported experiencing injuries at some point.

The study shows that golf is one of the sports that can cause injury in the shoulders, lower back, elbows, wrists, and knees. However, the part that should be given special attention is shoulder pain. The pain would primarily occur in the shoulder joint. That is why it is essential to be well aware of shoulder pain that causes by golfing. It can help prevent or manage the symptoms in the initial stage. This also ensures the shoulders remain functional for everyday activities and sports.

“Tiger Woods, a world-renowned professional golfer, had a tendon injury in his left knee. Although back injury is generally the most common among golfers, it tends to arise from the muscles that can be easily treated. Shoulder pain is what we should be cautious about. Even if the pain is minimal, it may grow worse when lifting or crossing the arms at the back; an injured tendon may be hidden inside. If left unattended without the right treatment, this condition could lead to frozen shoulder or rotator cuff tears.”

Causes of Golf-Related Injuries

Swinging golf club requires significant strength from the left knee, waist, body, and left shoulder. Injuries to the left shoulder can occur from the swinging motion where the left shoulder extends past the right shoulder, causing a stretch in the left shoulder tendon. Subsequently, the muscles become rigid and swiftly pull on the tendons, allowing the left shoulder to rotate counterclockwise to strike the golf ball. 

 “When the stiff tendons are forcefully pulled, there is a possibility of them rubbing against the bone. While the initial rubbing may not be severe, repetitive friction can progressively escalate inflammation, eventually causing a rotator cuff tear or a frozen shoulder.” 

Preventions of Shoulder Injury 

Regular stretching exercises for muscles and flexibility of the tendons. Muscle tendons are like rubber bands with a certain level of flexibility. However, they can degenerate with age. The flexibility will decrease like a rubber band that is left out in the sun for too long, it becomes stiff, and when stretched too hard, it can easily be torn. Therefore, stretching exercises for the tendons to increase elasticity is extremely important.

Warm-up exercises before starting any sports are essential for the tendons. Warming up will help the tendons to be flexible and prepared for sports.   

Adopt proper golfing techniques, as incorrect posture is one of the causes of injury. This

involves practicing appropriate swing motion, ensuring proper arm levels, back stretching, knee bending, swing deceleration, and rotating the body after striking the ball. Doing any of these incorrectly could put excessive pressure on the joints, increasing the likelihood of joint injuries.

In case of having shoulder pain 

If the pain has already occurred, take a break from golfing for the first 2-3 days. Apply a cold compress when the pain starts. If it gradually improves in 1 week, start exercises targeting the shoulder tendons while simultaneously applying a warm compress for 3 weeks. Once this is completed, you can get back to golfing again. The exercises should be continuously done in combination with warm-ups before playing any sports and adopting the correct golfing techniques. However, if the pain does not improve or gets worse in 3 months, it is recommended to see an orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine for proper diagnosis and medical advice. These days, a non-surgical procedure called “Platelet Rich Plasma” is used to treat mild tendon injuries. 

For more information, please contact

Orthopedics Center, Vejthani Hospital.
Call 02-734-0000 Ext. 2298    
English hotline: (+66) 8-522 38888

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