Shoulder injuries and diseases

Golf sports and shoulder

Introduction: shoulder and golf sports:
Golf is a quite popular sports with about 10 to 20% of all people playing it in several countries.


Shoulder and golf sports, some statistics:
Overuse and injury due to trauma have to be distinguished. There are different shoulder problems in professional athletes compared to amateurs. The shoulder is the third most injured joint in golf sports ( following spine and elbow traumata ). Most common are overuse in combination with a degeneration ( of the tendons or shoulder joints ). 82% of all shoulder problems occur due to overuse and about 18% because of a trauma. There are 50% non severe injuries, 25% severe traumata and 25% very severe. An exception are acute and very severe injuries. In 2007 all over injuriy rate in golf sports was about 16%. Change of the golf club and competiting games seem to affect the hights of the injury rate / risk to be injured. Other factors like age, handicap, sex and warm up attitudes don´t seem to affect the individual injury risk. Amateurs seem to have more lesions because of an incorrect use of the club.


Shoulder problems in golf sports professionals:
In professional golf athletes overuse problems of the shoulder are dominating. The shoulder in golf sports is painfull due to an overuse of the rotator cuff, biceps tendon and bursas. Monotonous moves are causing overuse pain / problems at theses structures. Quite often age related degeneration is causing additional shoulder problems. The lead shoulder, in a right handed golf player the left shoulder, is most at risk for such an overuse. In professional athletes overuse of the rotator cuff combined with a posterior shoulder instability are causing problems. In singular cases tears of the posterosuperior labrum are described.


Shoulder problems in golf sports amateurs:
Main problems in golf sports of amateurs are: 1. preexisiting degeneration of shoulder bones & tendons, 2. untrained muscles of the shoulder girdle, 3. bad technique. Predominantly we observe partial or complete tears of the rotator cuff, which is quite often combined with an impingement syndrome. Shoulder pain occurs while using the arm in and above shoulder heights while playing golf. Nonoperative therapy with rest, antiinflammatory drugs and physiotherapy are the first methods of choice. If this does not help, the narrowing under the shoulder roof is treated with an arthroscopic operation - called acromioplasty. If cuff tears are present, most of them will be sutured arthroscopically.


Golf sports and the ac joint at the shoulder:
In a right handed golf player, if there is shoulder present in the left shoulder, you should think about an arthritis of the ac joint. In general golf is a relatively save sports discipline. But overuse can be longlasting and debilitating at the affected shoulder joint.


Golf sports and shoulder arthroplasty:
A special theme are shoulder prostheses / patients with shoulder arthroplasty in golf sports. After implanting a shoulder arthrosplasty golf playing can be started 5 to 6 month later. Nowadays it seems to be that the lifetime of the artificial shoulder joint is not diminshed by golf sports.
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