Today's News

Saturday, March 3, 2001

In shoulder kinematics, too: the old golfers aren't what they used to be

Senior golfers will readily acknowledge that they don't swing like they did in their youth. Now a scientific study in poster exhibit 30 proves it with a comparison of 3-D shoulder kinematics during the tee shot by healthy golfers ranging from 20 to 80 years old.

Golf is a popular sport for people of all ages. It's also the cause of about 12 percent of shoulder injuries, says Scott Banks, PhD, technical director at Orthopaedic Research Laboratory, Good Samaritan Medical Center, West Palm Beach, Fla.

The goal of the research is to understand age-related changes in shoulder motion that will allow clinicians to better assess functional limitations and provide quantitative goals for rehabilitating the injured golfers.

Seventy-six golfers were divided into three age groups--college, middle and senior. A high-speed, six-camera system recorded three-dimensional bilateral shoulder motion (vertical abduction, horizontal adduction and external rotation) for three swings of the driver. Reflective markers were placed on the golfers and six video cameras sent the information to computers that reconstructed the 3-D path of the markers.

The study found the seniors' range of external rotation of the right arm was 40 percent less that of a younger golfer. The seniors' back swing was limited by less mobility in the spine. The older golfer compensated with more arm movement on the back swing.

Specifically, the authors of the study said, "senior golfers exhibited significantly lower limits for maximum right side horizontal adduction and external rotation, and left vertical abduction compared to college golfers. Total ranges of motion for right abduction and external rotation and left abduction and horizontal adduction were significantly lower in the senior group, compared to the college players."

The researchers said "it is important to define limits and ranges of motion required for golfers so instructors and clinicians can set realistic goals for return to golf following shoulder injury."

In addition to Banks the investigators, all of Orthopaedic Research Laboratory, Good Samaritan Medical Center, West Palm Beach Fl., are David A. Morgan, MS; and Kim H. Mitchell, BS, biomechanists; Hiroyuki Sugaya, MD, Chiba, Japan, research fellow; and W. Andrew Hodge, MD, medical director.

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2001 Academy News March 3 Index B

Last modified 20/February/2001 by IS