It could be your driving, your approach shots or your putting that is stopping you getting the handicap you want – but surprisingly enough the answer to better golf could be in your own hands!
If hand or wrist injuries are preventing you from taking the correct grip of your clubs then your golfing problems are really starting before you even tee-off, says Consultant Hand and Wrist Surgeon Mr Christos Kitsis.
“When you visit your golf pro one of the first things he looks at is your grip – that is how important it is. Yet many players struggle on with injuries that really are hampering their chances of improving at the sport.”
Here Mr Kitsis, who will be making a presentation at Great Barr Golf Club on November 19, looks at some of the most common complaints experienced by golfers around the West Midlands.
This is very common and can be quite debilitating but it can, on most occasions, be treated reasonably easily and with a short recovery period.
It occurs mostly in men over 50, when one or more fingers become permanently bent in a flexed (fist-like) position.
“While not usually painful you can see the problems this can cause for someone wanting to grip anything properly, never mind a golf club. There are several procedures I can perform to restore use of the fingers and you should have full use of your hand soon after treatment – although a return to golf would obviously take longer,”
Symptoms include pain at the base of the affected finger or thumb along with stiffness or clicking when you move it.
If the condition gets worse, your finger may get stuck in a bent position and then suddenly pop straight. Eventually, it may not fully bend or straighten.
“Medication, such as steroid injections can sometimes be enough to resolve the problem but, in some cases, surgery may be required. That means freeing up the affected tendons allowing them to work properly again.”
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Symptoms include an ache or pain in your fingers, hand or arm, numb hands, tingling or pins and needles or a weak thumb which makes it difficult to grip things. Again, physio or steroid injections can help but sometimes surgery is the best option.
“Surgery, under local anaesthetic, involves the carpal tunnel inside your wrist being released so it no longer puts pressure on the nerve. The operation takes around 15 minutes and success rates are very high,”
Golfer’s and Tennis Elbow
Symptoms of pain and reduced grip which can be debilitating. It may co-exist with trapped nerves in the elbow and wrist. Usually, it is caused by injury or, degeneration of muscle origin but sometimes can be the result of overuse or poor technique. Treatment consists of Physiotherapy, Orthotics, Equipment modifications, Injections and Surgery
Tendon and Ligament acute and chronic injuries
A multitude of tendons in the forearm, wrist and hand can be affected by sports. As they are associated with movement and grip they cause significant functional problems and often remove any enjoyment from sports and other activities. Early recognition and prompt treatment is the key to successful outcomes. A multitude of treatments is available.
Joint and bone problems
Bone and joint problems: such as stress fractures, osteochondritis, osteoarthritis, Triangular fibrocartilage complex injuries, post-traumatic problems. All can be complex to diagnose and treat. Keyhole or open surgery may greatly improve outcomes. Wear and tear arthritis affects most people but this does not mean they have to compromise with a life of pain and misery. Modern hand surgery provides highly effective solutions for most wear and tear conditions in the hand, ensuring great reduction or abolition of pain and preservation of function. A modern multi-disciplinary approach by a dedicated Hand surgery team led by Mr Kitsis at Spire Little Aston Hospital will ensure excellent outcomes and patient satisfaction.