While golf is viewed as a “leisurely” sport, it’s still a sport. As such, players are at risk of injury. While back injuries are the most common golf injury, golf hip injuries are listed among the top 5 sites for pain in golfers. According to one study, one in five male golf professionals report experiencing hip pain. It’s not surprising that hip pain increases with age.1
Hip pain from golf can be traced to the swing itself. Every joint in the body is pushed through its maximum range if motion when you swing the club. The hips are no exception. Some players try to generate additional power to their drive by shifting the hips backward and forward during the swing. This not only results in inconsistencies in their game, it also contributes to back pain as well as hip pain. However, even golfers executing perfect swing mechanics can still experience hip pain due to the extensive twisting and resulting pressure placed on the low back and hips.
Treatment for Golf Hip Injuries
Perhaps the most difficult treatment option for golf hip injuries is rest. If you experience hip pain during your golf swing, then the first step in treatment is to stop playing to allow your body to heal. Golf injuries are repetitive stress injuries. Consult with a chiropractor who treats gold injuries for recommendations on how long you should stay off the course.
You can help speed the healing of your golf hip injury by following the RICE method for the first 48-72 hours after you experience hip pain. RICE stands for:
Pain is your body’s way of letting you know something is wrong. Trying to play through your hip pain will only increase how long it takes you to recover. So the first time your hip hurts during your golf swing, you should stop playing and rest your hip as much as possible. If you’ve been properly fitted for crutches and still have them available, use them. Golf hip injuries are repetitive stress injuries. Unlike an acute injury like a slip and fall, repetitive stress injuries means the damage has been happening over time. By the time your hip hurts, the damage has already been done.
While resting, you can accelerate healing by applying ice to your hip. The cold helps to reduce pain and swelling. Place an ice pack on your hip for 10-20 minutes every three – four hours during the first 24 to 48 hours after you first felt pain in your hip. Be sure to cover the ice pack with a towel so you won’t damage your skin.
In addition to resting and applying cold to the injured areas, you also need to compress the area. This can be done by using an elastic bandage and wrapping it around your hips. Wrapping your hips snugly also helps to reduce swelling. Be careful not to wrap the area to tightly. If you wrap your hips too tightly, you’ll actually increase swelling and interrupt blood flow. Monitor the skin on your legs carefully. If the skin below the wrap turns blue or feels cold, numb, or tingly, the bandage is too tight. You need to loosen it. If loosening the bandage doesn’t make the symptoms go away immediately, seek immediate emergency medical attention.1
Elevation simply means raising your hip at or above the level of your heart. This will help reduce your hip pain. If you needed an excuse to purchase an adjustable bed, your golf hip injury is a good reason. The CDC recommends keeping the injured area raised whenever possible, even when you’re not icing it.
After the first 48-72 hours of practicing the RICE method, you can begin applying heat to the injured area during your rest period.
Chiropractic Treatment of Hip Pain
The fastest way back onto the course is to treat your hip pain with the RICE method while working with a knowledgeable chiropractor. Your chiropractor will create a treatment plan for your care. The plan your chiropractor creates will be unique to you. The goal of your chiropractic treatment plan is to:
- relax muscle spasms,
- reduce inflammation,
- strengthen weakened muscles,
- and improve joint mobility
The chiropractic treatment plan may include chiropractic spinal adjustments, massage therapy, and strengthening exercise therapy.
Chiropractic Spinal Adjustments
Spinal adjustments may reduce potential spinal misalignment that are contributing to your hip pain.
Ultra Sound Therapy
Ultrasound therapy uses sound waves to treat musculoskeletal problems like inflammation from injuries.
Myofascial therapy is a hands-on technique that works to relax, lengthen and realign your fascia. Fascia is the connective tissue that attaches, stabilizes, encloses, and separates muscles and other internal organs.
Massage can help increase hip mobility and movement. It can also relieve stress on the hip joint as well as to help correct pelvic alignment.
Strengthening Exercise Therapy
Exercise therapy (includes stretching) helps to increase the range of motion of your hips and strengthen your muscles. This can help speed healing and may get you back on the golf course sooner .
Underlying Health Factors
While the golf swing demands a lot from your low back, hips and knees, if you have underlying health factors, you’re more likely to experience hip pain from playing golf.
Arthritis describes swelling and tenderness in your joints, including your hip joint. It is more common among older adults. Symptoms of arthritis include pain, stiffness, swelling and decreased range of motion. Arthritis eventually leads to the breakdown of the cartilage that cushions your hip bones.
Hip arthritis can have a significant impact on your golf game. The swelling and stiffness that comes with arthritis make it difficult to swing the club efficiently. The modern golf swing demands that the hips rotate freely. The restriction arthritis has on hip movement makes follow through difficult. Not only will you lose power, but you’ll put additional stress on muscles in your low back to compensate.
Hip arthritis also makes it hard squat to tee up the ball or assess the greens when you’re putting. Hip arthritis can make walking up mild inclines difficult as well.
A single participant study illustrates that chiropractic care can be beneficial for treating hip arthritis and improving recreational golf performance. The positive outcomes included increased ranges of motion, decreased pain, as well as improvements in golf driving distance and endurance.2
When the small, fluid-filled sacs (bursae) that cushion the bones, tendons and muscles near your joints become inflamed, it’s called bursitis. Bursitis symptoms are similar to those of arthritis. The difference is that arthritis is a chronic condition. It causes irreparable bone, cartilage and joint damage. On the other hand, bursitis is a temporary swelling of the bursae. While arthritis can cause bursitis, bursitis won’t cause arthritis.
Other underlying health conditions that can cause hip pain include pinched nerves and different types of cancer. You should consult a physician or a chiropractor if you have hip pain that lasts more than two weeks to rule out more serious causes of hip pain.
Treating Golf Hip Injuries
Chiropractic treatment of hip pain can help ease your pain and get you back to playing golf. In addition to seeking chiropractic treatment, be sure to have a golf pro evaluate your stance and swing. A slight change can make a huge difference in your performance while preventing further injuries.
If you’re experiencing pain from a suspected golf hip injury, do not ignore it. Pain is your body’s way of letting you know that something is wrong. Ignoring pain means delaying treatment. Hip pain could be a symptom of cancer or other serious conditions that require immediate treatment. Even if your hip pain is simply a matter of playing too many rounds of golf, playing through the pain could worsen your injury. It can also make treatment more difficult.