Golf Swing Mechanics & Injury (Part 2)

As described in the previous article, a good golf swing relies on proper body mechanics. Part one described how soft tissue restrictions cause poor joint mobility. In part two, we will examine how hard tissue restrictions impact performance. Hard tissue restrictions relate to bone or more specifically how arthritic changes in the joint can affect your game.

Joints are where two bones articulate (meet) and where movement may occur. Although there are a number of different joint types, the most common joint type is the synovial joint, whose design is to produce movement. The end of the bone is lined with articular cartilage, similar to teflon on a fry pan. This produces almost frictionless movement between the bones at the joint. In the case of arthritis, damage has occurred to the joint surface and has damaged this smooth motion. The joint surfaces can ‘stick’ to each other and cause further surface damage. In addition inflammation and increased joint dysfunction occur. The movement of the joint surfaces follows a predictable path and in most cases results in gliding of the two bones past each other. In the case of arthritis (the most common being osteoarthritis) the movement does not follow this consistent path and aberrant motion occurs. This aberrant motion increases the risk of further damage to the joint surfaces and increased inflammation and increased joint dysfunction 

With these arthritic changes occurring, joint mobility is reduced. This means there is a decreased ability to move the joint throughout its full range of motion and it is relatively harder to actually move the joint through its available range. This increases load on surrounding tissues and subsequent compensatory patterns to occur.

Treatment

Whilst the research on whether joint surface damage can be reversed is conflicting, improvement in the ability of the joint to move (both maximal range and ease of motion) may be achieved. The same motion as a pristine joint may not be achieved, but optimal motion for that damaged joint can occur. This newly acquired motion can be attained without overloading the surrounding tissues thereby reducing the risk of injury. A course of soft tissue therapy on the surrounding tissues, joint mobilizations and advice regarding inflammation control can be implemented to ease pain and improve function.


Dr Andrew McHardy PhD is an internationally recognised expert on golf injuries.  For more information about the golf swing and how joint based limitations can affect performance and be managed, click here to contact us or call Synergy Healthcare on 02 9522 2125.