As golfers we often hear of the typical injuries. Injuries of the elbows, forearms, lower back or lead hip. One injury that we are seeing of increasing frequency in golfers is to the lead wrist, meaning for a right handed golfer, your left wrist. Upon further questioning of an injured player it often follows hitting a ball with unexpected opposing force to the wrist at impact. This is often experienced by hitting a shot ‘fat’, out of some very thick rough or hitting an unexpected tree root when hitting out of the rough. This injury often allows you to play out the rest of the round, however can niggle for months afterwards.
I recently helped rehabilitate a skilled golfer going through this injury. He reported hitting a tree root months earlier, since then had ongoing wrist discomfort at the top of his backswing or hitting out of thick rough. As a result of the injury he felt as though he was ‘shortening’ his swing because he was getting pain at the top. When working with his coach he found that he hadn’t actually shortened his club rotation path, but he had shortened his shoulder turn and was extending his lead wrist significantly more at the top of the back swing. As a result, he was hitting a lot more fade/cut or left to right shot shapes in order to protect his lead wrist from pain.
The injury itself was to a ligamentous structure that exists on the outside of wrist. Ligaments have a poor blood supply, thereby requiring a longer healing time. That said, we noticed significant tightness through wrist flexion, weakness with supination and pronation and pain with radial deviation. Following some soft tissue releasing, self-massage techniques and appropriate strength work our golfer was back playing his typical draw two weeks later. With his treatment we were able to restore muscle lengths through the wrist, redevelop appropriate strength measures and offload the injured structures.
Sometimes injuries or mobility compensations have more of an impact on our swing than we acknowledge. Addressing them may be your best way to get you back to unrestricted, consistent golfing again.