Triple bogies and sand traps can ruin a perfectly good round of golf. But far worse for casual and competitive golfers alike is the prospect of losing time on the course due to injury.
“Many people look forward to playing golf in retirement, but then they get hurt and can’t play. And younger players can miss an entire season due to a chronic injury,” says Casey Wagner, MD, a sports medicine specialist at Emory Healthcare. “It’s critical for golfers to see a care team that can treat the injury and address its root causes, which can include their swing mechanics, wrong-sized clubs, poor flexibility, muscle weakness and playing too often.”
Dr. Wagner and his colleagues at Emory Healthcare’s Golf Medicine Program can help. They offer personalized treatment plans and injury prevention strategies for golfers of all ages and abilities. The care team includes Dr. Wagner, sports medicine specialist Jeffrey Webb, MD, and physical therapists. Most care team members are certified by the Titleist Performance Institute. The institute teaches industry professionals how to improve player performance by deeply understanding how their body functions during their golf swing.
Golf Medicine Program Services
The Golf Medicine Program team takes time to understand your current injury and movement patterns to help you recover, improve your swing and prevent future injuries. At your appointment, you’ll work with the team for some or all of the following services:
- A thorough injury assessment, including X-rays, diagnostic ultrasound, or other imaging tests if needed
- A functional movement screening to understand the mechanics of your swing, fitness level and any limitations to your movement
- A variety of treatment options (which may include physical therapy, medications, ultrasound-guided injections or procedures, or orthopaedic biologics like platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy
- Physical therapy
- Home-based exercises
- Follow-up appointments with the doctor to assess your progress
- Information to help your coach or golf pro tailor lessons and instruction to your needs
Improving Performance, Preventing Injury
Golfers who return to the course after injury treatment can’t go back to “business as usual,” Dr. Wagner says. They must return to play gradually and correct any underlying swing problems with the help of a golf professional.
“The starting point is ‘what can your body do?’ And that’s what our team helps golfers understand,” Dr. Wagner says. “If you have hip arthritis or limited mobility in your back, for example, you might not be able to do a textbook swing. We’ll help you and your golf pro or coach understand your body’s limitations so you can adapt and be successful.”
Dr. Wagner also recommends doing a dynamic warm-up before every round to avoid future injury and help performance. Dynamic warm-ups involve controlled movements to take joints, muscles and tendons through their full range of motion. Research suggests these warm-ups improve performance and reduce the risk of injury in various sports, including golf.
Dr. Wagner and his team recently developed a seven- to 10-minute dynamic warm-up routine that includes 10 simple exercises and incorporates a golf club and resistance band. Videos of the routines are available on Emory Healthcare’s YouTube channel. “You can do these exercises on the golf range or locker room before you play, and they make a difference in injury prevention and performance,” Dr. Wagner says. “We are finding these exercises can produce a better swing plane, shot quality, accuracy, club head speed and total carrying distance.”
Make an Appointment with the Golf Medicine Program Team
If you want to learn more about the Golf Medicine Program or would like to make an appointment with Dr. Casey Wagner or Dr. Jeffrey Webb, visit our website.
Physician appointments are available at Emory Sports Medicine Complex in Brookhaven, Emory Orthopaedics at Dunwoody and Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center – Johns Creek. The physician will do a complete injury assessment and recommend treatment, which may include physical therapy. Our physical therapists can see patients at multiple Emory Healthcare locations and even provide Functional Movement Screenings and swing evaluations at local golf courses.
If your golf club or team would like to have the Golf Medicine Program team present on topics, such as golf injury prevention and new treatments, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.