Golf and tennis are popular sporting activities for people of all ages. Practically lifelong sports, they both offer great ways to stay both physically and socially active well into retirement. But even though they are less high impact than many other physical pursuits, there is still plenty of possibility for injury. In fact, players of both commonly complain of pain or injury in their elbows, shoulders, backs and knees.
Golf and tennis elbow are repetitive use injuries that occur over time. The pain is usually so mild in the beginning that players often ignore it, only to have it eventually become severe enough they can no longer play. While tennis elbow technically refers to pain and inflammation in the outer tendon, and golf elbow to the inner tendon, many golfers get tennis elbow, and vice versa.
Ranging from dull aches to sharp, shooting pains, back issues are another complaint common to players of both sports. Frequently hunching over and/or applying repeated rotational stress can result in muscle strains or tears and even stress fractures. Though not painful all the time, pain from stress fractures may increase with activity.
Whether shoulder impingement syndrome — common with repetitive overhead sports — or a rotator cuff tear, injuries to the shoulder can happen over time or result from acute injury and be the cause of major pain, tenderness and lack of mobility and strength when attempting to lift or use the arm. You might even be aware of snapping and crackling noises when engaging shoulder muscles.
Frequent bending, twisting, kneeling and jumping on court and course only aggravates age-associated wear and tear on the knee joint. In golf, it usually results from the improper form when teeing off as one or both knees experiences too much torque. In tennis, excessive strain on the patellar tendon results in numerous microscopic but painful tears. Not only does this interfere with game time, but it can also cause pain when bending the knee in daily life as well.
To prevent injury, it’s important to adequately stretch and strengthen the major muscles involved in your sport prior to play, to have the right shoes and other equipment, as well to practice to proper technique. Meeting with a golf or tennis pro to have your technique evaluated is a great idea, as is visiting a sports chiropractor who can analyze posture and muscle imbalances that might be affecting play.
Through chiropractic adjustments, massage and innovative sports rehab tools many sports injuries can be prevented and existing ones encouraged to heal. One of my favorite rehab tools is the FreezeSleeve, a revolutionary cold therapy garment used to reduce swelling, inflammation and soreness in joints and muscles. It can be worn as a cold compression sleeve on elbows or knees, or flat against shoulder and back areas.
The sooner you seek treatment for sports-related pain, the better. As a sports chiropractor, my goal is to lower your risk of injury while optimizing your performance to keep you playing the sport you love.