As the old saying goes, accessibility is the best kind of sports ability. This is certainly the case with golf, where a wide variety of sports-related injuries can occur. Good news? Most are self-inflicted and can be prevented with stretching and mobility training.
This week we sat down for a blog post with Dr. Russ Manalastas, a certified sports physical therapist and performance coach who works with golfers of all ages and skill levels. “Dr. Russ” is the owner and operator of MANA Performance Therapy in Rochester, New York, and is the strength coach for the Nazareth College men’s and women’s golf teams.
Dr. Russ created the Pain Free Golf Performance Program to help golfers use their bodies to their best golf performance while reducing the likelihood of injury. He is also the host of the “Pain-Free Golf Performance” podcast, a platform he uses to educate golfers on a variety of topics, using his knowledge and the experiences of his guests.
1. What are the most common golf related injuries you treat?
By far the most common injury we encounter while playing golf is low back pain. After back or spine problems, the hip, shoulder and wrist are other key areas that golfers struggle with. Identifying the physical constraints in and around these areas is key to understanding why they may be experiencing problems, but also to trying to address and find a solution to the problem.
2. What usually causes this injury and what can golfers do to prevent it?
Unprepared for the enormity of swings they do on the practice field and golf course. We need to make sure our body is ready to deal with the stress of a golf swing. While we can’t 100% prevent injury, there are a few ways you can significantly reduce your likelihood of getting injured while playing golf.
The low-hanging fruit that we tend to focus on when someone is getting ready to play is to prepare the body for warm-up or movement exercises to loosen up the body. Our data shows that a warm-up of just five to ten minutes can significantly reduce your risk of injury. The long-term pillars we focus on are strength training, adequate sleep and a balanced diet.
While it may seem tedious, when these things are monitored and tracked consistently, productivity will increase and the risk of injury will decrease. If someone is struggling with a problem and is wondering if they should seek help or not, we will use the following scale as an easy way to give context to the person’s pain. If you score three or more on the scale below, it is recommended that you seek assistance from your service provider.
1 – Pain on exertion
2 – Pain at rest
3 – Pain related to daily activity (sitting, walking, climbing stairs, etc.)
4 – Pain for which you have been taking medication
5 – Pain that paralyzes you
3. Do you recommend that golfers of a certain age use a fitness program designed for golfers?
Golf fitness is gaining popularity as more and more golfers start exercising to get the most out of their bodies. While a golf-specific routine can be beneficial, your experience in the gym and training in general will dictate your overall level of experience, which will determine whether these types of moves will be beneficial.
Any strength, flexibility or mobility training is better than nothing. But if a golfer is relatively new to the gym, focusing on the basics will positively impact his game. Regardless of age, it’s never too late to start working on your fitness. The stronger and more durable the body, the better it can handle the loads of a golf swing.
4. How does the right choice of equipment affect injury prevention?
Things we prioritize when evaluating the performance of our golfers are how well their bodies move, what their swing looks like and what equipment they are currently using. Our priority will be to make the body feel and move better to help with possible swing issues, but equipment can be a trap for golfers if the equipment is not best suited for them.
Whether it’s shaft stiffness, ball compression, or graphite vs steel, these factors can be extremely helpful or detrimental to a person overdoing it to compensate for the wrong gear they’re playing on. When it comes to equipment, we recommend fitting both clubs first and then the right ball to ensure success. onCore online ball match rating can help match the elements of your game to the right ball.
Get Dr. Russ
Youtube: Search for pain free golf
E-mail: (email protected)