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Shoulder pain from Playing Golf

March 24, 2017

Though golf is considered a moderate risk activity, an in-depth look at golf reveals that overuse and poor technique can result in serious injury. At first glance, the golf swing may appear to be a relatively simple move. However, the swing requires a synchronized effort of muscle strength, timing, and coordination to generate high club-head speeds, often more than 100 mph.

Golf injuries originate either from overuse or from a traumatic origin and primarily affect the elbow, wrist, shoulder and the lumbar area. In regards to shoulder injuries, the lead shoulder, or the left shoulder in the right-handed golfer, is particularly vulnerable to injury. Common shoulder problems affecting golfers include rotator cuff tears, long head of the biceps tendon injuries, shoulder impingement, osteoarthritis, and shoulder joint instability.

Most patients sustaining a golf related shoulder injury will respond to nonsurgical treatment, such as rest and a physical therapy program including: (a) muscular strengthening and flexibility; (b) a pre-game warm-up routine; and (c) the adjustment of an individual’s golf swing to meet their physical capacities and limitations through properly supervised golf lessons.

At the Cleveland Shoulder Institute, we highly encourage the adoption of our “Five Week Interval Golf Program.” This is a structured progressive rehabilitation program aimed at accelerating the return to play golf for our patients who suffered a shoulder injury or after undergoing a shoulder related surgery.  This program is comprised of a set of several swings using different clubs performed three days a week, for four weeks. By the fifth week, our patients can enjoy a game of nine holes. For a copy of this golf interval program, visit http://bit.ly/clerehabgolf.

Golfers who fail to respond to nonsurgical treatment options can often return to competitive golf after appropriate surgical treatment.  For more information on shoulder anatomy, disease, surgery and management, please call 844-SHOULDR (844-746-8537).

Dr. Gobezie is founder/director of The Cleveland Shoulder Institute, GO Ortho and Regen Orthopedics.  For more information, visit clevelandshoulder.com, regenorthopedics.com or godoctornow.com.

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