I have been playing golf for more than 50 years, and my lower back and right hip are totally arthritic. This started causing me problems in my golf game a couple of years ago, and I obviously want to continue playing the game I love.
I have gone to an orthopedic surgeon and had an MRI done in both areas. It’s important to know where the pain is emanating from.
I had a procedure done on my lower back called radio frequency ablation, and it has really helped relieve the pain. I will continue with steroid shots in my hip until I get a hip replacement.
It is also beneficial to go to either a physical therapist, chiropractor or massage therapist. These specialists can help relieve the pain and increase range of motion.
Listed below are some suggestions you can incorporate in your game to compensate for lack of motion or to help relieve the pain you feel when you swing a golf club.
Arthritis in your hands:
Use soft grips that are easy to hold on your clubs
Use a 10-finger grip
Use wide-top tees that are easier to place a ball upon (martini tees are great)
Use lower compression balls (ask at your golf shop)
Select softer grips
Wear gloves on both hands to provide extra cushioning
Use a “weaker” grip on the club by turning hands counterclockwise
Adopt a flatter, more elliptical swing that sweeps the ball
Avoid “casting wrist” during the downswing
Consider using a tee on all your shots if pain is severe
Hip, knee, and lower back injuries:
Flare out your toes on the side that has the knee or hip injury, or, if necessary, flare out both feet
Make sure you keep your knees flexed throughout the swing
Pre-set your hip turn by tilting to your backside and closing your stance
Adopt a flatter swing plane that’s more around your body, instead of up and down
Play more from your toes to help you turn
It is important that you talk to your doctor about playing golf with physical limitations before you go out and cause yourself more pain and swing problems.
Also make sure that you get your doctor’s release to play after any type of surgery.
Dr. Jean Harris is an LPGA Master Professional and teaches at Brown Golf Management courses. jean.golfdoctor.harris @gmail.com; www.golfdoctorjean.com