Physical Therapy Can Help Golfer’s Hip Mobility and Pain

Dec10th 2022

Are you noticing soreness or pain in your groin? Does your back seem to feel better the more warmed up your hips are? Golfing requires a tremendous range of motion to swing the club effectively. Our physical therapists at Compleat Rehab & Sports Therapy understand golfing mechanics and how vital your hips are to swing a club pain-free!

The golf swing has been associated with increased injury risk due to poor swing mechanics, inadequate spine (thoracic and lumbar) mobility, poor core stability, and lack of motion and strength in the hips. Most golf injuries are related to overuse syndromes but can result from traumas like hitting a rock or root or taking a large divot.

At Compleat Rehab & Sports Therapy in China Grove, Gastonia, Harrisburg, Highland Creek, Lincolnton, Locust, Mint Hill, Mount Holly, South Charlotte, Riverwood, and Steele Creek NC, we know how important it is to understand the golf swing mechanics and how important hip mobility and strength are for preventing injury and optimizing performance.

Request an appointment today, so we can help you resolve any injury, old and new, and get you back golfing sooner than later!

What role do the hips play in golf?

Golf is one of the most popular sports for recreational and competitive athletes. The sport offers people of all ages to enjoy nature and physical activity. Although the mental component of dealing with frustrating shots is often considered the most challenging part of golf, the physical requirements are surprisingly demanding.

Golf requires coordination and timing of all body parts moving in sequence to achieve an ideal swing. One of the most critical physical requirements comes from the hip joints. It is vital to achieving full hip rotation for a smooth and effective swing. Limitations in the hip affect the swing and the hip joint itself and can lead to pain and injury in the joints above and below.

During the swing motion, the front leg (lead hip) and the back leg (trail hip) work in concert while performing identical opposite movements. The torque created by this motion helps create angular velocity in the pelvis, which coordinates with the spine to achieve the whole-body rotation needed to swing the club. The knee joint is also directly affected due to the enormous force generated at the hip being transmitted down the thigh bone (femur) into the knee.

The coordination of the lower body and the pelvis and spine is influenced by the hip joint’s mobility and strength. Therefore, any factor limiting rotation could cause pain in golfers and even lead to an injury that inhibits participation.

At Compleat Rehab & Sports Therapy, our physical therapists understand the demands on the hip that help a golfer achieve a smooth swinging motion and can help identify any restriction standing in your way or causing you pain.

Most common causes of hip pain in golfers

Hip pain is a common issue affecting golfers. Most of the time, pain or injury results from swinging the golf club repeatedly due to the pressure on the hip joint and surrounding tissues, including the muscles. In addition, faulty swing mechanics can lead to pain and/or injury if the swing is not executed correctly.

Identifying whether or not the pain is an actual injury requires an assessment by a skilled physical therapist. Our team can identify the underlying issues causing your pain and limitations.

The most common causes of hip pain in a golfer include:

  • Muscle strains and tendinopathy: Due to the repetitive nature of golf, the hip joint, in particular, is susceptible to overuse-type injuries. Trying to hit the ball further can also result in a strain due to the excessive force on the tissue.
  • Hip labral tears: The labrum is a ring of cartilage that helps the femoral head (ball) move smoothly within the socket. A labral tear is an injury to this tissue (cartilage) that leads to pain, reduced range of motion, and may cause the sensation of the hip locking up.
  • Hip impingement: Also known as femoroacetabular impingement (FAI), occurs when the femoral head (ball) pinches up against the acetabulum (the rim of the socket). FAI may lead to damage to the labrum. Often FAI causes hip mobility deficits and pain.
  • Osteoarthritis: Osteoarthritis is a degenerative type of arthritis where the cartilage in the hip joint gradually wears away. As the cartilage wears away, the joint space decreases, resulting in pain and loss of motion.

There is also some evidence that the lack of motion in the thoracic and lumbar spine affects the hip joint. Although not a direct cause of hip joint pathology, the lack of mobility influences how the body transmits the forces needed to swing the club. Addressing the thoracic spine lack of motion has been shown to reduce pain in the hip joint.

In addition, weakness or lack of stability in the core musculature can create compensatory movements. These unnatural compensations may lead to pain in the hip joint as it attempts to control the massive swing velocity without adequate support from the core.

Fortunately, our team of physical therapists at Compleat Rehab & Sports Therapy are movement experts with proven success in treating golfers with all forms of pain and injury. We can help identify any limitations or weaknesses you may have and give you the tools to resolve them!

What your North Carolina physical therapist can do to help

Developing a plan to improve and maintain hip rotation mobility is essential for optimizing performance. At Compleat Rehab & Sports Therapy, our physical therapists will perform a golf-specific movement screen to identify any limitations related to your pain/injury and golfing performance.

These findings will allow us to develop interventions that correct movement patterns and reduce the risk of potential injuries in the future. We incorporate manual techniques to assist our progress and ensure you move and feel your best. We will focus on pain relief techniques and improving any lost motion.

Our programs will incorporate golf-specific strength training to address your unique needs. Our agenda will include education about the exercises to ensure you understand the importance and benefits of continuing to work on your therapeutic program even after you return to the links!

Request an appointment with one of our specialists at Compleat Rehab & Sports Therapy today!

The hip joint plays a significant role in how the rest of your body tolerates golfing. At Compleat Rehab & Sports Therapy, our physical therapists will identify all the factors causing pain/injury and give you the tools to resolve your issues once and for all!


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