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In the News

Will Your Shoulders Be Ready for Tee Time?

May 24, 2017


Mother Nature has called for one more snowy blast in Eagle and Summit Counties.  While Arapahoe Basin continues to reap the benefits of persistent snow accumulation for our ski and snowboard enthusiasts, the majority of Colorado ski resorts have shut down their lifts for the winter season.  In an area world renowned for winter sports, more recent warm temperatures have the Vail Valley buzzing with excitement over another one of our favorite pastimes; golf!  Will your shoulders be ready for tee time?

The shoulder is the fourth most commonly injured body area in amateur golfers according to the Orthopedic Journal at Harvard Medical School as many golfers take the physical aspect of the sport for granted because of the slow pace of the game.  Unnatural, explosive rotational forces to drive the ball off of the tee can lead to injury as the result of poor swing mechanics and lack of physical preparation.  Women are more prone to upper body musculoskeletal injury while men tend to be more prone to back injury. 

Many golf related shoulder injuries are preventable with preparation to sustain the repetitive motions of the game.  The most prevalent golf injuries can be subcategorized into overuse and traumatic injury.  Overuse injury including rotator cuff inflammation, biceps tendinitis and small rotator cuff tears can be caused by golfing too often or poor mechanics.  Osteoarthritis of the glenohumeral, or ball-and-socket joint or smaller acromioclavicular joint can flare up with repetitive play without appropriate recovery time and maintenance care.  Traumatic injury can occur suddenly with explosive drives including muscle strains and tendon tears.

Preseason conditioning programs should focus on flexibility, balance and strength training to avoid injury throughout the season.  Strength and endurance training of the upper back, shoulder and arm muscles should focus on specific training of the rotator cuff musculature, an area often prone to injury while golfing.  Proper strength training can add yards to your drive, lower your score and reduce the incidence of overuse injury.  A rounded upper back, typically the result of chest muscles overpowering weak periscapular muscles, can decrease rotational potential and increase the chance of shoulder or arm injury.  Building endurance and core strength can help maintain good posture in your golf stance over the course of 18 holes. 

If your shoulders aren’t prepared for the season, your golf swing and ultimately your golf game can suffer.  Preseason conditioning programs encompassing strength and endurance training as well as balance and flexibility exercises can help prevent a season ending injury and a trip to the doctor’s office.  Have you experienced a shoulder injury out on the course?  We’re happy to see you!  For more information regarding shoulder injury and Dr. Cunningham’s surgical techniques feel free to visit our website at or give our office a call to schedule an appointment at 970-569-3240 (Edwards) or 970-668-3633 (Frisco). This article originally appeared in Vail Daily News



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