Does Your Downswing Put You in the Danger Zone?


As defined by WebMD, “A hip (acetabular) labral tear is damage to cartilage and tissue in the hip socket. In some cases, it causes no symptoms.


In others it causes pain in the groin. It can make you feel like your leg is "catching" or "clicking" in the socket as you move it. Over time, labral tears in the hip may cause permanent damage to the joint.”

Repetitive forces are the biggest contributor to such injuries and golfers have even more opportunity to experience injury every time they take a swing. Every golfer has a dominant hand, so the same lead hip experiences all the rotation on both the takeaway and downswing phases of the swing and adverse compensatory tissue changes eventually follow.

The golf swing is a very quick movement. During the rapid downswing phase the trail hip experiences external rotation and extension, the suspected “danger zone” for labral tears. Thus, it would be appropriate to consider that accumulative rotations on a fixed lower extremity could cause an avulsion or fraying of the acetabular labrum, even at a lower velocity with smaller forces.

Micro-tears cause the affected tissues to shorten and tighten, limiting the forces a golfer can exert during the swing and making further injury more likely. Labral fraying, along with the large eccentric forces on the tendon may pull away the labral complex.

At least two professional golfers (Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson) have had a total hip replacement on the internal rotation lead hip. Researchers report that internal rotation is the first movement restricted in early arthrosis of the hip. Early detection of any loss of internal rotation range of motion may suggest more serious underlying joint pathology, underscoring the importance of prompt assessment and therapy. Athletes with existing femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) may be even more susceptible to acetabular labral tears. Physical therapists are highly trained movement specialist in detection and treatment or prevention of biomechanical errors. 

Contributed by Jeff Juraska, PT

PT Pro Golf - When Every Stroke Matters
At PT Pro Golf, we understand the needs of golf enthusiasts, both amature and professional. We can provide therapy to effectively optimize your body mechanics to improve your game. We specialize in tissue improvement: coordinate your flexible strength through the course! Don't hate the game, don't hate the player hate the limited movement and make it in today to fix it.... Simple. Don't let this happen to you. 

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