Mayo Clinic’s High-Tech Analysis Helps Improve Your Golf Swing & Prevent Injuries

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Now that the weather is warmer, many people are returning to one of their favorite sports: Golf.

And some of them are getting help with their golf swing before they ever set foot on a course.

You can now work with specialists at the Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine facilities in Rochester and Minneapolis to get a high-tech analysis of your golf swing.

Once that’s done, physical therapists show you exercises to help correct any issues with balance, stability or flexibility. We discovered these steps can also help prevent injuries from golfing.

Professional golfers make it look easy. They play with confidence combined with strength and skill. But for amateurs — even ones who have been playing golf for a lifetime — it’s not so easy.

WCCO sports anchor Mark Rosen learned quite a bit about his game when he went through an analysis of his mobility and his golf swing with physical therapist Christopher Fjosne.

Mayo Clinic says its 2-D and 3-D video analysis of golfers and subsequent exercise regimen are not just about improving your play and lowering your score. They can help prevent injuries.

Without proper posture, balance, flexibility and stability, golfers get hurt.

“The most common injury that you have in the hand and wrist is what we call an overuse type of injury, more of a tendonitis,” said Dr. Sanj Kakar, an orthopedic surgeon at Mayo who specializes in hand, wrist and elbow conditions.

dr sanj kakar Mayo Clinics High Tech Analysis Helps Improve Your Golf Swing & Prevent Injuries

Dr. Sanj Kakar (credit: CBS)

“Sometimes with the twisting action of a golf club you can have pain in the tendon on the outside of your wrist which runs in this area here,” he added.

Some golfers even break bones in their hands.

“If you imagine the golf club can travel up to 100 miles an hour, and you hit a shot fat for example or you hit a rock, a lot of force is then imparted right here and you can break a bone,’’ he said.

Physical therapist Joe Eischen leads the golf performance program at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester.

physical therapist joe eischen working with that patient teaching him exercises to increase his mobility and strengthen his muscles Mayo Clinics High Tech Analysis Helps Improve Your Golf Swing & Prevent Injuries

Physical therapist Joe Eischen working with a patient teaching him exercises to increase his mobility and strengthen his muscles (credit: CBS)

“Most professionals get hurt because they are hitting a tremendous amount of balls and playing a lot, so the volume. Most amateurs are going to get hurt because of their golf swing. It’s not very functional or biomechanically sound,” Eischen said.

Back pain and tightness in the hips are common complaints.

Physical therapists at Mayo develop customized exercise programs to help golfers correct their shortcomings.

“You want the golf swing to start at your feet, go up through your pelvis, through your trunk, through your arms and into the club head,” said Eischen.

Orthopedic surgeons say there are four things you can do to help prevent golf injuries.

The first is stretching — warming up those muscles.

Second, make sure you don’t overdo it when you’re practicing. The repetitive motion of hitting hundreds of balls can cause tendonitis.

“Thirdly is to have proper equipment. There’s many equipment modifications that can happen. For example, the shafts can be more graphite, which are lightweight, the grips can be thicker so you are not squeezing as hard,” said Dr. Kakar.

Finally, take some lessons from a PGA professional and learn the proper technique.

patient in rochester getting his swing analyzed 2 Mayo Clinics High Tech Analysis Helps Improve Your Golf Swing & Prevent Injuries

A patient in Rochester getting his swing analyzed (credit: CBS)

“Hips need to be mobile and if they aren’t your body may go to your back, your lumbar spine, and it’s not built for mobility, it’s built for stability and with enough reps, you get hurt,” Eischen said.

As for Rosey, he now knows just what he needs to work on before hitting the links.

We looked in to the cost of the golf performance program at Mayo Clinic and there are two options.

It’s $300 for a two hour session with a 2-D golf swing analysis. That option is offered at the sports medicine clinic in Minneapolis and Rochester.

It’s $600 for a four hour session with a 3-D golf swing analysis. That option is only offered in Rochester.

For more information on the Mayo Clinic’s golf performance program, click here.

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