Golf Knee Pain? Avoid Knee Pain on the Golf Course
I love my golfers. I once had a patient come to me in excruciating back pain. He could barely walk the back pain was so bad. But, during the evaluation, he told me that he had continued to golf without a problem. Life aggravated his back symptoms, but golf (despite the walking, twisting, bending) didn't bother him at all. I love that! So much passion and concentration happening on that golf course that even the worse physical pain becomes inconsequential. Of course, there are many movements in golf that can cause a musculoskeletal problem. And there are many movements in golf that can aggravate a preexisting physical condition.
Knee pain is a big complaint for a lot of golfers. The tips I am about to share with you will help you to avoid knee pain with golf. But wait, there is MORE.
These same tips will also help you to avoid shoulder pain as well as back pain and hip pain on the golf course AND on the tennis court.
Tip Number 1 for avoiding knee pain (and shoulder pain and back pain and hip pain) on the golf course (or on the tennis court):
Improve your hip range of motion –
When you swing a golf club, the rotation of the body should happen at the hips. The left hip, in particular, should rotate internally in order to have the best possible swing. If the hip doesn’t have the range of motion needed to properly execute this move, then there are any number of compensations that can occur - you will either strain the knee, over swing with the arms, shift your weight incorrectly etc… Either way, you won’t have as efficient and successful a golf swing and you will be setting yourself up for possible injury.
There is a simple hip stretch, which targets the hip joint capsule that I recommend to all of my golfers and tennis players. Watch this Hip Stretch Video for a demonstration of the hip stretch for golfers.
Tip Number 2:
Strengthen your core -
Core training is a term that you've probably all heard by now. More and more, health experts and athletic coaches are embracing the principals of core training. This is mainly because of its promise in the area of rehabilitation and injury prevention. Without a strong core, the arms and legs have to overwork, which can lead to knee pain or shoulder pain or any other sports injury. The ability to power movement from the trunk decreases the upper extremity or lower extremity muscles from experiencing fatigue and increasing their risk of injury.
So what exactly is "the core"?
You can think of your core as being two parts that work together: The deep abdominals, which form a corset of support around the spine, and the larger muscles around the spine and pelvis, which help to keep the trunk stable.
You have four layers of abdominal muscles: The rectus abdominus, the external obliques, internal obliques and the deepest layer – the transvers abdominus.
Engaging your transversus abdominal muscle- your deepest abdominal muscle - is the secret to avoiding low back pain, knee pain and shoulder pain with sports. The transverses abdominal muscle is the starting point for any good core exercise program.
Whenever you hear someone tell you to "activate your core" or "turn on your abdominals" or "pull in your abdominals" or "tighten your abdominals" - what does that all mean? Your trainer, physical therapist or fitness instructor is trying to get you to engage your deepest abdominal muscle when they use those terms. For the best way to begin training the transversus abdominal muscle (in other words, the best way to ‘use your abs’), check out my article on the best abdominal strengthening exercise.
Once you have mastered the art of properly engaging your deep abdominal “core”, then it is time to strengthen the larger muscles around the back and pelvis (e.g. gluts, lats, inner thighs, back extensors, oblique abdominals). BUT you must continue to engage your deep abdominal muscle while you train the larger muscles. This explains why you will see trainers at the gym making people stand on a wobble board or stand on one leg while they strengthen a large muscle group. If you are on an unstable surface, you are forced to use your abdominals more.
So as you head back to the golf course, may your new hip range of motion keep you injury free and may your driving force come from your core and improve your golf game.