In assessing injury profiles on the PGA Tour Professional Sports Care takes into consideration the golfer’s injury history, conditioning level, age, and body type. A noticeable finding this past year was an increase in injuries to the knees and wrists. To evaluate if there's a common denominator to this, knowledge of the stresses placed on the knees and wrists must be expanded.
On both the professional and amateur levels everyone is striving to increase distance. With this in mind we know that forces necessary to increase power come from the lower body. With PGA golfers being better conditioned they are able to generate more power and torque in their bodies. Compression and rotational stress on the knees with a golf swing has been estimated to be approximately six times the golfer’s bodyweight. Since most of the power generated in the golf swing initiates from the ground up, proper foot mechanics as it relates to the knee becomes significant. Many of the younger golfers take a foot position in the trail leg that is perpendicular to the target line and often do the same in the lead leg. It is well known that excessive pronation of the foot is accommodated by tibial torsion which can magnify the stress on the knee.
With concerns of increasing distance ever present in the minds of professional and amateur golfers alike club head speed becomes of interest. Fifteen percent of club head speed in the golf swing comes from the rotation of your body. The remaining 85% is generated by the swinging motion of your arms and hands. With golfers becoming more powerful and utilizing their core and torso musculature more efficiently, the forces that the arms and hands have to handle at impact has been increasing over the last few years. When considering body stature and the conditioning level of the golfer it is not difficult to see the increased vulnerability to wrist injury.
Time will tell if knee and wrist injuries in professional golfers will be on the rise in the future.