Golf and Shoulder Tendonitis

By Jon Stiffler PTA/Sports Center Manager

Tendonitis of the Shoulder Due to Golf

By: Jon Stiffler PTA/Sports Center Manager

Golfer's Shoulder

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Shoulder tendonitis or impingement can be a common occurrence with golfers. Tendonitis is usually caused by an imbalance of posturing or shoulder stabilizers within the shoulder. Golf can be a facilitator of poor posturing that can potentially lead to tendonitis. However, there are stretches and techniques to use in avoiding or aiding shoulder tendonitis. A forward flexed/rounded shoulder posture is used frequently within the game of golf. From this posture, players can develop pectoral tightness. This pectoral tightness can lead to others things such as overstretched soreness that can result in tightness within the muscles that surround the shoulder blade and the back side of the shoulder.

From these tightness patterns, poor shoulder mechanics can develop and place stress on the rotator cuff muscle. This is usually felt with pain and soreness on the side of the shoulder and can refer pain down the arm. Therefore, a few simple stretches before, during and even after a round of golf can be helpful to fight these patterns and may even loosen up the shoulder to provide a more fluid swing.

As mentioned above pectoral tightness can be an issue and so a good stretch is recommended. To perform this stretch, place your hand on the door frame or rail of a golf cart and with your elbow bent at 90 degrees rotate the body away from the hand a until comfortable stretch is felt. Next, two different stretches you can do for the back side of the shoulder are a cat stretch and cross arm stretch.

To perform the cat stretch, place your hands together in front of you with elbows straight and round your shoulder blades forward (keep your shoulders from rising up). You should feel a comfortable stretch between your shoulder blades and spine. The cross arm stretch is performed by gently pulling on the elbow of the tight arm with the arm across your chest. This stretch should be felt on the back side of the shoulder. Perform these three stretches for a 10 second count 10 times comfortably.

In addition to performing these stretches, you may want to try shoulder blade squeezes or pinches to alleviate the forward flexed posture discussed above. This can be done in a set of 10 by squeezing the muscles between the shoulder blades together while keeping your shoulders from rising up. In addition to these stretches, your therapist can develop a more individualized program as needed consisting of stretches and stabilization techniques. This can facilitate better posture and shoulder mechanics to decrease pressure on the rotator cuff tendon and decrease your pain. Please ask your physician if this may be a good option for you.

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