My golf patients are surprised when I tell them we need to look at their hips when they come to me for their golfer’s elbow.
They think I failed all of my anatomy and physiology. They will often re-inform me that their pain is in their elbow and not in their hips.
I know! And, I am not crazy! Hang in here with me while I explain a little more about golfer’s elbow and how your stance, and more specifically your hips, might be the root cause of all of that extra torque on your elbow.
I have already discussed what golfer’s elbow is and what are the two main categories of the injury. If you need a quick refresher, you can refer back to that blog here.
How Do I Treat Golfer’s Elbow?
To treat golfer’s elbow, you will need to take some time off to “de-load” the elbow. During this time, it is crucial to begin a physical therapy program that will help re-load the muscles and build up the strength in an appropriate sequence. This is crucial for making sure you can make the most of the golf season and not miss a tee time because of your elbow pain.
After you’ve started your physical therapy program to start strengthening other areas in the swing sequence, it is time to start looking at why the golfer’s elbow came about. Maybe it really is from the sudden increase in golf swings? Swinging a golf club 50-100 times at 80-110+ mph can take a toll on the body when it isn’t prepared for it.
If it is as simple as just de-loading the muscles and slowly ramping up the volume, great! We can start there.
But, in my experience, that is not the case in the novice golfer. With the novice golfer, it is especially important to look at the hips and pelvis if you want to have long-lasting relief from golfer’s elbow.
I think Shakira was onto something when she said: “hips don’t lie.”
Have you ever tried swinging a golf club without moving your hips? I bet that it isn’t comfortable. If you haven’t tried it, take a moment and grab your golf club. Stand up straight and try to swing. You’ll notice the arms having to do the work and how awkward that feels.
The golf swing should be initiated from the hips. The hips will start to generate the rotational power needed for your arms to rotate down and through the golf swing.
What Happens If You Don’t Initiate At The Hips?
Well, your arms still want to go through the golf swing so you become too “armsy” with your swing. This lack of rotational power developed through your hips will cause your shoulders, elbows, and wrists to activate more to get the acceleration of the clubhead you are looking for.
When you don’t initiate the golf swing with your hips, you begin to start casting, scooping, chicken winging, and having an early release. All of which adds extra stress at the elbow joint.
The good news? This can be addressed.
Here are some reasons why this could be happening:
- You have a current or old injury that is not allowing you to fire your hips in the correct sequence
- Limited hip mobility
- Poor awareness or body control
- Poor hip strength
More good news? If you correct these impairments then you can look forward to not only reducing the elbow pain, but you will also add another 5-10 yards (at least) to your swing.
Need a comprehensive approach to treating your golfer’s elbow?
Feel free to apply for a free consultation to see how we can help.