Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Things to Know Before Playing Golf With Shoulder Muscle Injury

Though the shoulder is not the most commonly injured joint for golfers, a torn shoulder muscle generally refers to a torn rotator cuff. The four rotator cuff muscles are located under your shoulder, or deltoid, muscles and may partially or completely tear. You may be forced to play with a torn shoulder muscle during a tournament, but if you can help it, you should limit your golfing until your shoulder heals.
The rotator cuff muscles originate on the shoulder blade and insert on the uppermost end or head of the arm bone. These muscles push the head of the arm bone or humerus into the joint as you swing a golf club. Playing golf frequently, over a long period of time, causes wear and tear on the small shoulder muscles, increasing your risk of tearing one or more of them completely. Additionally, one powerful swing through your arms instead of your hips and trunk can tear your shoulder muscles.
Immediate Post-Injury Treatment
If you must complete a tournament and golf with a torn shoulder muscle, you should reduce pain and swelling first. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin can help reduce pain and swelling while you play. Applying a cold compress like a cold drink or an ice pack to the affected shoulder also reduces pain and swelling. Minimize movement of your arm as much as possible, enlisting the help of your caddy or your golfing buddies to carry your equipment for you.
Pre-Golfing Treatment
While a cold compress reduces pain and swelling, a hot compress increases circulation at the site of the injury. If you tore your shoulder muscle prior to a tournament and must continue to play with the injury, you should apply an ice pack three times a day for 15 minutes for two days prior to the tournament. On the day of the tournament, apply a heat pack to your injury for 10 minutes prior to your warm-up and your tournament. You should also take aspirin before you start to play.
Moving an injury is counterproductive to healing. Though there may be instances where you must continue to play golf with a torn shoulder muscle, you must immediately begin rehab after golfing. It can take one to three weeks for the pain and swelling of a shoulder injury to significantly reduce, depending on the extent of the injury. You must stop all activities which aggravate your injury or cause pain. Once pain and inflammation have reduced, you should follow the stretching and strengthening protocols of your physical therapist if you want your rotator cuff muscles to heal properly. If you do not abide by your rehab program, your shoulder muscles and joint will not heal properly, decreasing the likelihood of your golfing abilities returning to normal.

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