A golf swing is from the ground up, meaning your ankles, knees, hips, back, shoulder, and neck are all involved in a kinetic chain to achieve your goal – hitting the ball. As such every joint involved in the swing is taken through its maximum range of motion. If your body is not properly prepared to handle these forces, injury can occur. If any one of these links in this chain is not moving optimally then the entire movement will be compromised. With that in mind lets take a look at a golf swing from the ground up.
Foot and Ankle
Your feet and ankles are creating a stable and strong foundation for your golf swing, and as such they play an important role in the outcome. As you begin your swing weight is distributed from your back foot on the backswing, then transferred to your front foot during the downswing. It is this transfer of this force that will determine the distance of the ball. Correct range of motion in the foot and ankle joint will determine the amount of force being transferred from back foot to front foot. If your ankle or foot is compromised, then your swing is compromised from its very beginning.
Your knees are the mid connection between your hips and the ground – this seems obvious, but when you think about your body as a coil, with your back leg as the centre that you coil around, your knees play an important roll in developing, and then releasing that coil. If you have a problem with your knees you can’t fully develop that coil upwards during the backswing. This will impact on the release of the coil in the downswing, thus effecting you hit.
The chief link to power is you hips as they are important in creating the torque during the backswing. The thrust of your hips as you uncoil in your downswing gives you the power needed for the strong hit. Unstable hips prevents a full, proper coil during the backswing and uncoil and follow through of the downswing, which means less power in your hit.
A common complaint with golfers, both pro and amateur, is back pain; often the result of an inefficient golf swing that creates too much stress on the back. Compensating for lower back pain during a golf swing creates poor biomechanics which can cause overuse injuries by putting strain on other muscles, rather than using the correct muscles for the movement. This changes the normal range of motion of your back. Instability in this area will lead to further injury and strain, while also compromising your swing.
It is important for your shoulders to be loose so that you can have a relaxed swing and can achieve a full shoulder turn. Irritation or problems in your upper back and neck can cause your muscles to tighten, effecting your ability to bring your arms back for a full backswing, and limiting your follow through. Stiffness in your lower back and hips can also cause more strain on your shoulders, effecting both your backswing and downswing.
Elbows and Wrists
A golf club is an extension of your arm, as such your elbows and wrists are essential joints in your swing. The final part of your golf swing involves these joints; your wrist especially needs to be flexible as it is important in the late release of the club.
How can Chiropractic and Massage help?
Now that we have dissected your golf swing, you can see all of the moving parts involved in the action. Chiropractic and Massage are important in maintaining these joints and the surrounding muscles, keeping them flexible and stable. Chiropractic is especially important in maintaining your joints, as they are trained to analyse and treat joint dis-function, allowing you to have full and proper range of motion. While Remedial Massage is employed to help your muscles remain supple and loose pre-game, as well as to treat muscle aches or pain post-game and aid in recovery.