ACL Injury Treatment

From: Knees for Life

iStock_000007464012MediumHow are ACL injuries treated?

Most ACL tears are treated with reconstructive surgery in order to prevent collateral damage later in life. Patients should find a board-certified orthopedic surgeon who has completed more than 100 procedures. Surgery is a valid option for patients because it protects the overall stability and function of the knee. Surgeons use either an allograft (ligament tissue from a cadaver) or an autograft (the patient’s own tissue). Usually, surgery to reconstruct an ACL is performed arthroscopically through small incisions. The benefits of minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery include less pain and less recovery time. In most cases, the surgery is followed by physical rehabilitation to strengthen the joint and regain full range of motion.

What the Research Tells Us

Many studies report a high success rate after athletes undergo ACL reconstructive surgery. The studies prove that most athletes are able to return to their chosen sport once their ACL has been surgically repaired. Research has been conducted to test the return to sport (RTS) rate in many physically demanding sports, and in one particular study, researchers concluded that there is a 77 percent RTS rate in Major League Soccer after ACL reconstructive surgery. So, for those ACL patients who hope to continue playing at competitive levels, surgery is the best option.

About ACL Injuries in Children

ACL reconstructive surgery is usually standard treatment for adult athletes who tear an ACL. But what happens when a child sustains an ACL injury? Experts say the biggest concern about surgery for children is the knee’s growth plate at the end of the femur and tibia. This growth center is directly in the path of the drill holes, screws and staples that are typically used during ACL reconstruction. Studies show that a growing child who undergoes ACL reconstruction is at greater risk of having future knee problems. Therefore, physicians need to carefully consider those risks when deciding on surgery for younger children.

IATA
MOR

About ACL Injuries

From: Knees for Life

What is an ACL?

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of four main ligaments in the knee joint. The ACL is a ligament in the center of the knee joint that connects the bottom of the thigh bone to the top of the shinbone and provides the knee with stability.

How does an ACL injury occur?

The ACL is commonly injured by a hit to the knee (contact) or when an athlete is stopping suddenly, pivoting, slowing down quickly after running or landing from a jump (non-contact). Athletes who tear their ACLs often hear a popping sound, accompanied by knee pain and instability.

Who is at risk?Football

Any athlete can be injured, but ACL injuries are more prevalent in those who participate in high demand sports that require pivoting and cutting movements or quick planting of the feet, such as soccer, lacrosse, hockey, basketball, football, skiing, volleyball, cheerleading and gymnastics.

The gender bias

Studies show that teenage female athletes are at higher risk of ACL injuries than teenage male athletes. Young women athletes are anywhere from two to 10 times more at risk of an ACL tear because of differences in biomechanics and body shape. Female hormones can also cause an increased looseness in ligaments, making girls more vulnerable to tears.

iStock_000021194481MediumWhy are ACL injuries on the rise?

The number of ACL injuries is skyrocketing – especially in young people. Nationally, nearly half a million injuries occur in the U.S. every year, and physicians in Philadelphia have reported a 400 percent increase in ACL tears in 10 years. The number of ACL patients seen by Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush (MOR) physicians has more than doubled in the last five years. Still, what concerns physicians the most is the increase in ACL injuries among athletes under 25 years of age. MOR noticed that the number of ACL patients in this age group tripled over the past five years.

Physicians agree that the rise in ACL injuries has to do with stiff competition and year-round play of one sport, without breaks or resting between seasons. The numbers are also high because more girls are playing competitive sports.

IATA    MOR

Teaming up to prevent ACL injuries!

Knees For Life

An ACL Injury Preventiion Program from the Illinois Athletic Trainers Association in collaboration with Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush.

Anterior cruciate Ligament (ACL) tears are among the most common injuries in young athletes today. National studies show a dramatic rise in ACL injuries — especially in female athletes — over the past 10 years. ACL injuries can lead to arthritis and other knee problems in aging athletes. Studies show that athletes can reduce their risk of injury as much as 72 percent by adhering to a knee strengthening and conditioning program. The Illinois Athletic Trainers Association (IATA) and sports medicine physicians at Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush (MOR), have teamed up to help prevent ACL injuries from occurring. Their public awareness program, “Knees for Life,” urges coaches and athletic trainers to institute ACL injury screenings and prevention programs for athletes at risk.

IATA and Midwest Orthopaedics ACL Injury Prevention Program PSA

IATA     MOR

Are Pro Golfers Too Bulked Up?

Tour Players May Be Working Out Too Much, Leading to Injuries

Maybe this is just a midsummer rough patch, but injuries among pro golfers have never been so much in the news, or of so much concern for the players themselves. “It’s not a football game. We are not taking hits out there,” Jim Furyk said last week. “But we’re doing a very awkward motion at a high speed and it’s repetitive, that same motion, over and over and over again.”

ProGolfersTooBulkedUp

Tom Watson, the U.S. Ryder Cup captain, characterized the golf swing as a “violent” move. “They’re falling like flies,” he lamented, after watching Matt Kuchar and Jason Dufner, two potential members of his squad, drop out of the PGA Championship last week. Four other players also withdrew because of injuries. “The question you have to ask,” he told me Monday, “is whether the workout ethic of players today is causing these injuries.”

The answer is almost certainly yes, although other, interrelated factors are also involved. The Tour these days attracts bigger, stronger players than it used to, and their athleticism brings more torque to bear on their joints. Many of today’s players started focusing on golf exclusively at a younger age than formerly and thus accumulate more lifetime stress on their bodies. Seasons run longer, and players feel compelled by the increasingly competitive nature of the game to push ever harder for any advantage, particularly distance. Gym work itself may be part of the problem. “In the past, there were very few injuries because there were fewer professional golfers exercising,” said nine-time major champion Gary Player, a pioneer in golf fitness who said he never had to withdraw from a tournament because of injury. “While this might not make sense to an average golf fan, what you have to understand is that many of these professionals today are becoming injured because they are exercising incorrectly,” he emailed from South Africa.

Proper training seeks to reduce muscular imbalance to combat the one-sidedness of golf, increase mobility in the joints that need to be flexible such as the hips, shoulders and upper back, and strengthen muscular control in the core, glutes and legs. What’s incorrect training? Striving to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger. Greg Rose, a co-founder of the Titleist Performance Institute in Oceanside, Calif., acknowledges that Tour players’ intensely competitive nature sometimes works against them in the gym. “If you want to train like the Green Berets or the Navy SEALs, where a lot of the purpose is mental, to see how much you can handle, of course it’s high risk,” said Rose.

Most top golfers train directly with well-educated physical therapists and avoid this trap. “Working out properly has kept many, many more golfers on the golf course than it’s kept off,” said Rose, who works frequently with pro golfers. But over time, even the best training regimens wear down the body. “If you’re training harder, working out harder, it’s going to make you stronger and maybe help prevent some traumatic injuries,” said Joshua Dines, an orthopedic surgeon at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City who counts numerous professional golfers among his patients. “But every time you do a push-up or a lat pulldown or a biceps curl, you are risking an overuse situation. So it’s a constant balancing act between letting the body recuperate and making it stronger.”

Early specialization in golf adds to the toll. Jack Nicklaus, Hale Irwin and many other stars from previous generations played multiple sports through high school. Far fewer of today’s Tour pros did. “This is a problem across the board in sports,” said Dines, who is a team doctor for the New York Mets and has also worked with Davis Cup tennis. “We’re seeing a whole different spectrum of overuse injuries now, and in a lot younger population.” In baseball, for example, one study found that oblique muscle injuries rose dramatically between 2005 and 2012, even as players became more diligent about training. In golf, Tiger Woods, a physical mess at age 38, might be considered Exhibit A for the dangers of early specialization and intense training. Rory McIlroy has a golf timeline quite similar to Woods’s and is a recent gym-rat convert. Although McIlroy is still sound at 25, he could easily have problems down the line.

The new wraparound schedules that top international pros follow don’t help, either. Even if they don’t play in many more tournaments than they used to, many pros now have essentially no off-season and continue to train year-round. Then there’s the issue of the so-called modern golf swing, characterized by keeping the lower body planted and comparatively stable while generating power for the swing through the torque created against that platform by the rotating upper body. It can be murder on the vulnerable lower back.

Rose at TPI has worked extensively with professional long drivers like Jason Zuback. Their swings, designed for maximum distance, more closely resemble old-fashioned swings. They lift their left heels off the ground, rotate their hips more, and “jump” at the ball, relying far less on the lower back for power. “The modern swing, with fewer moving parts, is designed primarily for accuracy,” Rose said. “When you take that technique, and add power to it, as the modern pros have to do, you put extremely high stress on the body.”

So what’s a modern Tour pro to do? First, they have to accept that, increasingly, injuries are part of the business. Second, treat the injuries they do get appropriately and give them time to heal. Many seem to be getting the message, which may also contribute to why we’re hearing so much more about injuries. “Seven years ago, I would have tried to play through this injury,” Michelle Wie said last week after announcing she would be missing three to five weeks because of a wounded finger. In 2007, Wie suffered a serious wrist injury but unwisely played on. “It is important to me not to make that mistake again,” she said.

Furyk has had injuries to both wrists over the years, but in general has enjoyed a healthy career. At 44, he is ranked No. 6 in the world. “Any nicks and bumps and bruises I’ve had, I’ve done a good job of getting out ahead of them instead of waiting until I was hurt or had a hard time playing. I’ve tried to be preventative,” he said.But that’s not his only secret. “A lot of it is good luck,” he said.

-John Paul Newport for the Wall Street Journal

Able to Run the Chicago Marathon after Torn Meniscus Repair

Holly AmatangeloI just wanted to write to you, Dr. Cole, Natalie, and the rest of your staff and say a huge THANK YOU for everything you did for me with my knee surgery in January! After several months of physical therapy after you repaired my torn meniscus, I am feeling great! I am able to run again comfortably with NO pain!

I actually was able to run the Chicago Marathon on October 7th and this is 100% due to the amazing work and skill of you and your team. I was a lot slower runner this year as I need to get back in shape still, but to be able to run without pain is a dream come true for me! Just to cross the finish line felt amazing. You and your staff are amazing people and I am so grateful to have found you all.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you!! I hope all is well with everyone!

All my best,
— Holly Amatangelo

More Patient Experiences

Midwest Orthopaedics

Soccer: Common Injuries and Prevention Tips

From The Andrews Institute

Soccer is one of the most popular sports in the world and the fastest growing team sport in the United States. Although soccer provides an enjoyable form of aerobic exercise and helps develop balance, agility, coordination, and a sense of teamwork, soccer players must be aware of the risks for injury. Injury prevention, early detection, and treatment can keep kids and adults on the field long-term. Injuries to the lower extremities are the most common in soccer. These injuries may be traumatic, such as a kick to the leg or a twist to the knee, or result from overuse of a muscle, tendon, or bone.

Lower Extremity Injuries

Sprains and strains are the most common lower extremity injuries. The severity
of these injuries varies. Cartilage tears and anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) sprains in the knee are some of the more common injuries that may require surgery. Other injuries include fractures and contusions from direct blows to the body.

Overuse Lower Extremity Injuries

Shin splints (soreness in the calf), patellar tendinitis (pain in the knee), and Achilles tendinitis (pain in the back of the ankle) are some of the more common soccer overuse conditions. Soccer players are also prone to groin pulls and thigh and calf muscle strains. Stress fractures occur when the bone becomes weak from overuse. It is often diffi cult to distinguish stress fractures from soft tissue injury. If pain develops in any part of your lower extremity and does not clearly improve after a few days of rest, a physician should be consulted to determine whether a stress fracture is present.

Upper Extremity Injuries

Injuries to the upper extremities usually occur from falling on an outstretched arm or from player-to-player contact. These conditions include wrist sprains, wrist fractures, and shoulder dislocations.

Head, Neck, and Face Injuries

Injuries to the head, neck, and face include cuts and bruises, fractures, neck sprains, and concussions. A concussion is any alteration in an athlete’s mental state due to head trauma and should always be evaluated by a physician. Not all those who experience a concussion lose consciousness.

HOW ARE SOCCER INJURIES TREATED?

Participation should be stopped immediately until any injury is evaluated and treated properly. Most injuries are minor and can be treated by a short period of rest, ice, and elevation. If a trained health care professional such as a sports medicine physician or athletic trainer is available to evaluate an injury, often a decision can be made to allow an athlete to continue playing immediately. The athlete should return to play only when clearance is granted by a health care professional. Overuse injuries can be treated with a short period of rest, which means that the athlete can continue to perform or practice some activities with modifi cations. In many cases, pushing through pain can be harmful, especially for stress fractures, knee ligament injuries, and any injury to the head or neck. Contact your doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment of any injury that does not improve after a few days of rest. You should return to play only when clearance is granted by a health care professional.

HOW CAN SOCCER INJURIES BE PREVENTED?

  • Have a pre-season physical examination and follow your doctor’s recommendations
  • Use well-fi tting cleats and shin guards – there is some evidence that molded and multi-studded cleats are safer than screw-in cleats
  • Be aware of poor field conditions that can increase injury rates
  • Use properly sized synthetic balls – leather balls that can become waterlogged and heavy are more dangerous, especially when heading
  • Watch out for mobile goals that can fall on players and request fixed goals whenever possible
  • Hydrate adequately – waiting until you are thirsty is often too late to hydrate properly
  • Pay attention to environmental recommendations, especially in relation to excessively hot and humid weather, to help avoid heat illness
  • Maintain proper fitness – injury rates are higher in athletes who have not adequately prepared physically.
  • After a period of inactivity, progress gradually back to full-contact soccer through activities such as aerobic conditioning, strength training, and agility training.
  • Avoid overuse injuries – more is not always better! Many sports medicine specialists believe that it is beneficial to take at least one season off each year.
  • Try to avoid the pressure that is now exerted on many young athletes to over-train. Listen to your body and decrease training time and intensity if pain or discomfort develops. This will reduce the risk of injury and help avoid “burn-out”
  • Speak with a sports medicine professional or athletic trainer if you have any concerns about injuries or prevention strategies

For Fitness, Push Yourself

By

Intense exercise changes the body and muscles at a molecular level in ways that milder physical activity doesn’t match, according to an enlightening new study. Though the study was conducted in mice, the findings add to growing scientific evidence that to realize the greatest benefits from workouts, we probably need to push ourselves. For some time, scientists and exercise experts have debated the merits of intensity in exercise. Everyone agrees, of course, that any exercise is more healthful than none. But beyond that baseline, is strenuous exercise somehow better, from a physiological standpoint, than a relative stroll?

There have been hints that it may be. Epidemiological studies of walkers, for instance, have found that those whose usual pace is brisk tend to live longer than those who move at a more leisurely rate, even if their overall energy expenditure is similar. But how intense exercise might uniquely affect the body, especially below the surface at the cellular level, had remained unclear. That’s where scientists at the Scripps Research Institute in Florida stepped in.

Already, these scientists had been studying the biochemistry of sympathetic nervous system reactions in mice. The sympathetic nervous system is that portion of the autonomic, or involuntary, nervous system that ignites the fight or flight response in animals, including people, when they are faced with peril or stress. In such a situation, the sympathetic nervous system prompts the release of catecholamines, biochemicals such as adrenaline and norepinephrine that set the heart racing, increase alertness and prime the muscles for getaway or battle. At Scripps, the scientists had been focusing on catecholamines and their relationship with a protein found in both mice and people that is genetically activated during stress, called CRTC2. This protein, they discovered, affects the body’s use of blood sugar and fatty acids during moments of stress and seems to have an impact on health issues such as insulin resistance.

The researchers also began to wonder about the role of CRTC2 during exercise. Scientists long have known that the sympathetic nervous system plays a part in exercise, particularly if the activity is intense. Strenuous exercise, the thinking went, acts as a kind of stress, prompting the fight or flight response and the release of catecholamines, which goose the cardiovascular system into high gear. And while these catecholamines were important in helping you to instantly fight or flee, it was generally thought they did not play an important role in the body’s longer-term response to exercise, including changes in muscle size and endurance. Intense exercise, in that case, would have no special or unique effects on the body beyond those that can be attained by easy exercise.

But the Scripps researchers were unconvinced. “It just didn’t make sense” that the catecholamines served so little purpose in the body’s overall response to exercise, said Michael Conkright, an assistant professor at Scripps, who, with his colleague Dr. Nelson Bruno and other collaborators, conducted the new research. So, for a study published last month in The EMBO Journal, he and his collaborators decided to look deeper inside the bodies of exercising mice and, in particular, into what was going on with their CRTC2 proteins. To do so, they first bred mice that were genetically programmed to produce far more of the CRTC2 protein than other mice. When these mice began a program of frequent, strenuous treadmill running, their endurance soared by 103 percent after two weeks, compared to an increase of only 8.5 percent in normal mice following the same exercise routine. The genetically modified animals also developed tighter, larger muscles than the other animals, and their bodies became far more efficient at releasing fat from muscles for use as fuel.

These differences all were the result of a sequence of events set off by catecholamines, the scientists found in closely examining mouse cells. When the CRTC2 protein received and read certain signals from the catecholamines, it would turn around and send a chemical message to genes in muscle cells that would set in motion processes resulting in larger, stronger muscles. In other words, the catecholamines were involved in improving fitness after all. What this finding means, Dr. Conkright said, is that “there is some truth to that idea of ‘no pain, no gain.’” Catecholamines are released only during exercise that the body perceives as stressful, he said, so without some physical strain, there are no catecholamines, no messages from them to the CRTC2 protein, and no signals from CRTC2 to the muscles. You will still see muscular adaptations, he added, if your exercise is light and induces no catecholamine release, but those changes may not be as pronounced or complete as they otherwise could have been.

The study also underscores the importance of periodically reassessing the intensity of your workouts, Dr. Conkright said, if you wish to continually improve your fitness. Once a routine is familiar, your sympathetic nervous system grows blasé, he said, holds back adrenaline and doesn’t alert the CRTC2 proteins, and few additional adaptations occur. The good news is that “intensity is a completely relative concept,” Dr. Conkright said. If you are out of shape, an intense workout could be a brisk walk around the block. For a marathon runner, it would involve more sweat. “But the point is to get out of your body’s comfort zone,” Dr. Conkright, “because it does look like there are unique consequences when you do.”

New Technology for Leg Lengthening; Golf Fitness

Episode 14.20

Segment One – Dr. Charles Bush-Joseph talks with Dr. Monica Kogen from Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush about new technology in leg lengthening. Limb length discrepancy (LLD) is a condition of unequal lengths of the lower limbs. The discrepancy may be in the femur, or tibia, or both. Slight differences in limb length is fairly common; however, a significant difference between two legs can affect a patient’s well being and quality of life.

A device can be surgically implanted into one of the bones of the leg (femur or tibia) to lengthen it. The lengthening occurs when the hand held remote control unit is activated directly over the implant. Lengthening sessions typically occur several times a day, in very small increments, until the leg has achieved the prescribed length.

The PRECICE implant holds the bones together until the body makes new bone to fill in the gap. During the consolidation phase, the bone heals. Your bone will change, or regenerate, from a soft material into hard bone over time.

Dr. Kogan, Assistant Professor, Director, Pediatric Orthopaedics, Rush University Monica Kogan, M.D.Medical Center, is a medical graduate from the University of Illinois College of Medicine Chicago, and completed her orthopedic surgical residency at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Her fellowship in pediatric orthopedic surgery was completed at the Primary Children’s Medical Center in Salt Lake City, a renowned pediatric center serving five states in the inter-mountain region.


Segment Two
Joe Estes PT, DPT from the Athletico Golf Performance Center describes techniques and therapy to improve strength, mobility and general fitness for golfers at all levels; solutions for dealing with injury and pain and the importance of core stability; fitness package for game improvement with the Athletico Swing Analysis. Joe Graduated with a Bachelor’s in Kinesiology with an emphasis in clinical exercise science from California State University, Fullerton in 2010. Graduated with a Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Western University of Health Sciences in 2013. and has received certification as a Certified Golf Fitness Instructor through the Titleist Performance Institute.

Play Podcast – 30 Minutes

Running 5 Minutes a Day Has Long-Lasting Benefits

Running for as little as five minutes a day could significantly lower a person’s risk of dying prematurely, according to a large-scale new study of exercise and mortality. The findings suggest that the benefits of even small amounts of vigorous exercise may be much greater than experts had assumed. In recent years, moderate exercise, such as brisk walking, has been the focus of a great deal of exercise science and most exercise recommendations. The government’s formal 2008 exercise guidelines, for instance, suggest that people should engage in about 30 minutes of moderate exercise on most days of the week. Almost as an afterthought, the recommendations point out that half as much, or about 15 minutes a day of vigorous exercise, should be equally beneficial.

But the science to support that number had been relatively paltry, with few substantial studies having carefully tracked how much vigorous exercise is needed to reduce disease risk and increase lifespan. Even fewer studies had looked at how small an amount of vigorous exercise might achieve that same result. So for the new study, published Monday in The Journal of the American College of Cardiology, researchers from Iowa State University, the University of South Carolina, the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, La., and other institutions turned to a huge database maintained at the Cooper Clinic and Cooper Institute in Dallas.

For decades, researchers there have been collecting information about the health of tens of thousands of men and women visiting the clinic for a check-up. These adults, after completing extensive medical and fitness examinations, have filled out questionnaires about their exercise habits, including whether, how often and how speedily they ran. From this database, the researchers chose the records of 55,137 healthy men and women ages 18 to 100 who had visited the clinic at least 15 years before the start of the study. Of this group, 24 percent identified themselves as runners, although their typical mileage and pace varied widely.

The researchers then checked death records for these adults. In the intervening 15 or so years, almost 3,500 had died, many from heart disease. But the runners were much less susceptible than the nonrunners. The runners’ risk of dying from any cause was 30 percent lower than that for the nonrunners, and their risk of dying from heart disease was 45 percent lower than for nonrunners, even when the researchers adjusted for being overweight or for smoking (although not many of the runners smoked). And even overweight smokers who ran were less likely to die prematurely than people who did not run, whatever their weight or smoking habits.

As a group, runners gained about three extra years of life compared with those adults who never ran. Remarkably, these benefits were about the same no matter how much or little people ran. Those who hit the paths for 150 minutes or more a week, or who were particularly speedy, clipping off six-minute miles or better, lived longer than those who didn’t run. But they didn’t live significantly longer those who ran the least, including people running as little as five or 10 minutes a day at a leisurely pace of 10 minutes a mile or slower.

“We think this is really encouraging news,” said Timothy Church, a professor at the Pennington Institute who holds the John S. McIlHenny Endowed Chair in Health Wisdom and co-authored the study. “We’re not talking about training for a marathon,” he said, or even for a 5-kilometer (3.1-mile) race. “Most people can fit in five minutes a day of running,” he said, “no matter how busy they are, and the benefits in terms of mortality are remarkable.” The study did not directly examine how and why running affected the risk of premature death, he said, or whether running was the only exercise that provided such benefits. The researchers did find that in general, runners had less risk of dying than people who engaged in more moderate activities such as walking.

But “there’s not necessarily something magical about running, per se,” Dr. Church said. Instead, it’s likely that exercise intensity is the key to improving longevity, he said, adding, “Running just happens to be the most convenient way for most people to exercise intensely.” Anyone who has never run in the past or has health issues should, of course, consult a doctor before starting a running program, Dr. Church said. And if, after trying for a solid five minutes, you’re just not enjoying running, switch activities, he added. Jump rope. Vigorously pedal a stationary bike. Or choose any other strenuous activity. Five minutes of taxing effort might add years to your life.

Golf: Common Injuries and Prevention Tips

From The Andrews Institute

Golf looks like an easy game to play, hitting a stationary object with a club into a relatively wide open space. Well, think again! To become a good golfer, it is recommended that you start young and practice, practice, and practice. Golf historically is perceived as being a low-risk sport when it comes to injuries. However, many young golfers, especially those who lack proper technique, suffer from acute or overuse injuries.

WHAT TYPES OF INJURIES ARE MOST COMMON IN GOLF?

Acute injuries are usually the result of a single, traumatic episode, such as hitting the ground of a submerged tree root in a sand trap. Overuse injuries are more subtle and usually occur over time. These injuries will more often stem from the stress that the golfer puts on the back and shoulders when swinging. The three most commonly injured areas of the body are the back, shoulder, and elbow. They should be treated with rest, a good stretching/warm-up program, and good, sound advice from a golf professional.

WHY DO INJURIES OCCUR?

Approximately 44 percent of all reported golf injuries in youth are from overuse.photo: golf athlete The main causes of these injuries include:

  • Lack of flexibility
  • Poor conditioning
  • Excessive play or practice
  • Poor swing mechanics
  • Ground impact forces
  • Intermittent play

Poor flexibility is a key risk factor for a golf injury. One survey showed that more than 80 percent of golfers spent less than 10 minutes warming up before a round. Those who did warm up had less than half the incidence of injuries of those who did not warm up before playing. The golf swing is broken down into four phases: backswing, downswing, acceleration/ball strike, and follow through. Any limitations in range of motion (ROM) will hamper the golfer’s ability to achieve the proper swing plane, thus increasing the stress on the involved joints and muscles.

The second main reason for golf injuries is the repetitive nature of this sport. The golf swing involves repetitive, high-velocity movement of the neck, shoulders, spine, elbow, wrist, hips, knees, and ankles. The percentage of injuries directly correlates with the number of rounds or the number of range/practice balls struck per week.

INJURY PREVENTION

To avoid golf injuries at any age level, it is important for the golfer to develop a solid swing technique. The golfer who plays with a poor swing technique will have an increased risk of injury due to the excessive stress placed on their back, shoulders, and elbows. All golfers, no matter the age level, should have a specific routine of stretching/flexibility exercises they perform prior to starting each round. Along with their stretching/ flexibility exercises, they should always hit some golf balls before a game, starting with the wedge and gradually working their way up to the driver. You should never just grab the driver and go!

Seek the advice of a sports medicine specialist in your area if any injury occurs to get an accurate diagnosis and prevent recurrent problems. You should return to the course or range only when clearance is granted by a health care professional.

THE FUTURE OF KIDS GOLF

According to the National Golf Foundation’s most recent participation report, the number of golfers age 6-17 dropped 24 percent, to 2.9 million from 3.8 million, between 2005 and 2008. The reason cited is the intimidating design of today’s golf courses. Kids need to start on family-friendly facilities where they can be provided with some good old-fashioned training and teaching.

According to the foundation, the future of golf can be summed up in two words: fun and play. Their research indicates that when golf is no longer fun for the kids, they will lose interest. According to studies from Positive Coaching Alliance, parents and coaches tend to become too technical too early with kids, and one of the drawbacks of golf is that it’s a highly technical sport. Kids should be encouraged to play and have fun for their improvement, even if their shots don’t go exactly where they want them to go.