Golf-Related Injuries In Australian Amateur Golfers (P4)
The golf literature suggests that the 3 most common injury sites are the lower back, elbow and wrist, with the shoulder as the fourth most common injury site. This study agreed with the literature that the lower back was the most common site of golf injury, followed by the elbow, but the shoulder was injured more often than the wrist in this sample. Potential reasons for the differences between the results of this study and the literature include that the sample size of previous studies was small. Additionally, there was greater potential for recall bias in golfers sampled in the previous studies requiring information on injuries over a whole golfing career, rather than just in the previous year, as in this study. The chance of recall bias increases with increased recall period.
The most common injury mechanism found in this study was poor technique in the execution of the golf swing (aberrant mechanics), which is in agreement with the findings in the literature. The amateur golfer is more likely to have an aberrant swing pattern that could predispose to injury at a rate potentially greater than that of the professional golfer. Most golf injuries reported in this study occurred in the golf swing. To ascertain the golf swing phase where most injuries occurred, the swing was divided into several well-defined phases including backswing, downswing and follow-through. Golfers who reported that they were injured ‘at impact’, formed a separate category (‘other’) together with those reported as injured in ways other than the three phases defined above. According to the literature, the follow-through phase is the most common phase in which injury occurs. This phase occurs at the end of the swing, after the ball has been hit and the body is slowing in movement. This phase is associated with the eccentric action of the trunk rotators and lumbar hyperextension depending on the golf swing type. Further study is required with regard to the influence of the golf swing on injury occurrence, particularly the follow-through phase.
As shown in this study, a large proportion of injured golfers sought treatment with allied health practitioners such as physiotherapists, chiropractors, and massage therapists. This implies that hospital admission-based injury epidemiology studies, where hospital records are analysed for golf-related injury, are unlikely to reflect the actual occurrence of golfrelated injury and would be skewed to more serious injury. This observation was also made by Fradkin and co-workers. The present study also investigated the time off golf (i.e. lost to injury) among injured golfers following their injury. Over half (55.2%) of those injured reported taking time off both play and practice and a further 5% took time off either practice or play. Given that over 12% of golfers with injures had over 3 months off play or practice, and nearly one-quarter had over 6 weeks off, suggests that the severity of the average golf injury may be greater than generally acknowledged by the public.
According to this study, golfers over the age of 40 years had the highest risk of injury. Golfers in the 40 – 59-year and the 60 – 69-year age groups were over 5 times more likely to sustain an injury than golfers under the age of 20 years, with those over 70 years over 4 times more likely to injure themselves. The frequency of injury in golf may be due to the potential for a cumulative effect of injury as more than half of the injuries sustained were of insidious onset, and nearly half had been sustained previously (recurrent).