Physiotherapy Toronto Blog 

How To Prevent Common Golf Injuries

By Athlete's Care on May 13, 2019

Toronto Physiotherapist

Springtime in Ontario means sunny, warmer days - and many of our Toronto physiotherapy and sports medicine specialists seeing a rush of golf injuries. Golf is seen by many as a recreational activity, and not a real sport. Unfortunately, it also means that many people don't treat it as a sport, and don't prepare themselves for the activity. You might be surprised to learn that golf injuries are actually quite common - and often preventable. 

What causes golf injuries? Much of it boils down to two key issues: physical conditioning and proper form.

Physical Conditioning

  • Just because golf is seen as a relatively easy sport to play, it doesn't mean you can completely disregard the fact that it is a physical game. This can involve a few separate issues.
  • One of the biggest issues that add to your risk of golf injury is a lack of flexibility. A survey of golfers found that over 80 percent of golfers take less than 10 minutes to warm up before a game - and those who did warm up sufficiently had less than half the incidence of injuries. It does make a big difference.
  • General physical conditioning, including weight or resistance training, improves balance, reduces the risk of injury, and improves your game too.

Proper Form

  • Because golf is a game of precision, it requires attention to detail in terms of form. Learning proper form will not just improve your game - it will help prevent injuries too.
  • Swing mechanics are a key issue. If your range of motion is impaired by poor conditioning, it will get in the way of being able to achieve the proper swing plane at any of the four phases. This increases the stress on joints and muscles of the back, shoulders, and elbows.
  • Ground impact injuries can occur during the swing, or if you twist your ankle too much. They can be mild or quite severe, and acute or repetitive in nature, and typically affect the shoulder, arm, or wrist. Proper form helps you avoid these altogether.

Over use is also an issue.

  • Golf involves intermittent and high velocity activities that involve your body from your neck and shoulders to your ankles. If you are getting tired, it means you are less able to play efficiently no matter what your conditioning.
  • Know your limits, and don't push yourself beyond them. Aerobic and strength training can increase those limits.

Paying attention to the basics will pay off in terms of a greatly reduced risk of injury.

Swing Mechanics

  • Proper swing mechanics involve the correct posture. Maintaining good posture helps prevent a sore back and more serious back injuries.
  • Focus on the smoothness of your swing. You want to transfer the force of the swing through the muscles from your ankles to your wrists in a balanced motion, without undue stresses at any point along the way.
  • Over-using your wrists can lead to golfer's elbow, which is a strain of the muscles on the inside of the forearm.
  • Use a judicious amount of force; overswinging will place stress on your joints and muscles.

Warm-ups

  • A good warm-up should last at least 10 minutes.
  • It can involve brisk walking, jumping jacks, stretching the arms and shoulders, and swinging your club.
  • Stretching will improve your range of motion, and your swing.

Just as you would with any sport, start your round of golf more slowly, and work up to a faster pace.

If you need advice on how to get in shape for this season of golf, or any other aspect of sports medicine or musculoskeletal health, our Toronto physiotherapists, chiropractors, and other specialists are ready to help. Drop by one of our Toronto physiotherapy clinics today or call for an appointment.

Easy Recipe for No Bake Energy Bars

By Athlete's Care on May 10, 2019

These bars are perfect for that mid-afternoon craving or a pre-workout snack.

Yield: Four pieces

Ingredients:
7-8 soaked and pitted dates,
1/2 cup rolled oats, 
1/4 cup coconut flakes, 
2-3 tbsp natural peanut butter, 
1.5 scoop protein powder, 
2 tbsp cocoa powder, 
2 tbsp chia seeds (optional) 
2 tbsp chocolate chips

Method:
In a food processor, pulse until the mixture comes together (you may need to add a tbsp of water).
Place in a parchment lined loaf pan and press down. Freeze for 1 hour until firm and trim the edges off.
Cut into four equal pieces.


 

Recipe provided by Registered Dietiatian, Jasmine Kwok.  Jasmine is a Registered Dietitian (RD) with a passion for sports and fitness. She graduated from McGill University with a Bachelors of Nutritional Science and completed her dietetic internships in Montréal and Toronto.

Find out more about the Nutrition Services available at Athlete's Care.

 Neck Pain

 

Pain in the neck? Don't ignore it - finding the cause is the first step. Our Toronto physiotherapists and other sports medicine specialists help many of their clients with issues that begin with a simple ache in the neck area – in fact, it's estimated that up to seven in 10 people will suffer from some form of neck pain during their lives.

The neck is relatively small as compared to the size of the average human body overall, but it's packed with delicate and extremely important structures. Here's a look at some of the most common causes of neck pain.

Musculoskeletal neck pain is often caused by holding the head in one position, or maintaining an unnatural posture, for a period of time. This is very common among people who work on their computers, and that includes video gaming enthusiasts who hunch over their gaming devices. Craning your neck over your mobile phone is another common cause, along with sleeping in an awkward position. You will feel a persistent, dull ache.

  • Arrange your work space ergonomically. Our Toronto physiotherapists and other sports medicine specialists can give you advice on how to do that.
  • Gaming fans should also consider ergonomics, such as playing on a computer with the screen at eye level, and seriously consider either cutting down the number of hours played on handheld devices, or at least spacing them out with intervals of activity.
  • Use a speakerphone or headset rather than hold the phone between your shoulder and cheek.

Sleeping in an awkward position, or sudden movements can also cause muscle spasms, felt as a sharp pain that may not last very long. Sometimes, the causes of muscle spasms are unknown.

Muscle tension in the neck can lead to dull, throbbing headaches that usually encompass the back of the head and neck. At times, muscles will tense up because you already have a headache. Either way, you are likely dealing with strain of the suboccipital muscles at the base of the skull. This can be due to eye strain, or holding your head in an awkward position.

Pinched nerves - Nerves are compressed or pinched pinched by bone spurs which can occur as the disks deteriorate over time. You may feel tingling or numbness in your arms or hands. It can occur as a result of the normal wear and tear over a lifetime, or a sudden injury.

There are some specific conditions that can cause neck pain and other discomfort.

  • Spondylosis, or degenerative disk disease can occur as you age. There is a soft material in the spinal disks with a texture like jello. It acts like a shock absorber between the bones of your spine. That soft centre can deteriorate with age. You may experience pain, stiffness, headaches, and muscle spasms - or no symptoms at all.
  • Whiplash is often caused by a car accident where the head jerks back and forth suddenly and violently, but can also be caused by a sports injury where the head goes through similar jerky movements. Wearing your seat belt is your best protection in case of auto accidents.
  • A herniated disk occurs when the jelly capsule bulges or ruptures, and causes damage or irritation to the nerves around it. The good news is that a herniated disk can heal.
  • Osteoarthritis - degeneration of the cartilage between joints - and rheumatoid arthritis - an autoimmune disease not linked to aging - may have different causes, but both can lie at the bottom of neck pain and stiffness.

There are a few essential points to keep in mind when it comes to prevention:

  • Activity at intervals – your body is designed for movement and not extended periods of sitting in one position.
  • Good posture – when you sit, think about maintaining a straight line from your shoulders to your elbows and hips. Try to maintain that same kind of balance as you stand or walk.
  • Good form – when you practice your sport, be sure to maintain the correct form and stance – this is your best protection against any injury as it helps ensure no body part is put under undue stress.
  • Proper equipment – play your sport with proper footwear and other necessary gear, sized correctly to help prevent all injuries.
  • Conditioning – weight or resistance training, flexibility training, developing and maintaining core strength, and aerobic exercise for endurance – these will all help you prevent injury no matter what you do.

Treatments are available no matter what the cause, and are customized to your situation. If you are suffering from persistent neck pain, let our Toronto physiotherapists, chiropractors, massage therapists and other members of our sports medicine team help. Call one of our Toronto physiotherapy clinics today, or drop by to make an appointment.

Athlete's Care is proud to partner with the GoodLife Fitness Toronto Marathon in providing a discount to our patients, family and friends interested in participating in this event. 

Register for the Toronto Marathon at www.TorontoMarathon.com and use promo code ACTM19 to get 13% off the entry fee of the marathon or half marathon.  Hurry!  This offer is only valid until April 19, 2019.  Race date is Sunday May 5th.  Register early and take advantage of a lower entry fee.

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