Golfer's Shoulder

What is golfer’s shoulder?

Golfer’s shoulder is a common injury in golf. Golf is a unique sport that is highly dependant on upper body movement.  as each shoulder must do an opposite movement and very specific manoeuvre during the swing. The lead shoulder is most often injured as it is often stretched across the body during backswings. This may affect the non- leading shoulder.  Pre-existing conditions, such as shoulder impingement, rotator cuff pathology, shoulder blade dysfunction and arthritis may increase the severity of golfer’s shoulder symptoms.



Symptoms can include:

  • Tenderness and pain
  • Stiffness and muscle tension around the shoulder girdle
  • Swelling
  • Impingement or catching



Your physiotherapist will start by assessing you and will:

  • Ask about your symptoms
  • Ask about your general health, fitness level and any previous injuries
  • Perform tests to assess your movement patterns, function, stability and strength of the muscles of the upper body
  • Ask about your expectations and goals with physiotherapy

Based on the findings, your physiotherapist will assist with symptom management and return to activity with some of the following treatment techniques:

  • Education
  • Therapeutic exercise to stabilize, strengthen and improve posture
  • Manual therapy and soft tissue techniques
  • Modalities including electrical stimulation, laser and ultrasound
  • Acupuncture or IMS
  • Recovery and relaxation techniques



  • Perfect your technique to ensure proper swing mechanics
  • Always warm-up before playing
  • Do exercises to improve the strength, endurance and stability of the muscle around the shoulder girdle
  • Stretch the muscles around the shoulder girdle to ensure full range of motion and the ability to turn into the backswing
  • Use the larger parts of your body (legs, hips and trunk) to transfer weight from the ground up more consistently
  • Avoid hitting balls when in pain or injured
  • If your shoulder starts hurting stop playing
  • Avoid carrying a golf bag with a sore or aching shoulder and use a push cart rather than pull cart
  • Use the proper equipment and ensure your clubs are in good shape and fitted correctly for you


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Carl Petersen, BScPT, is a partner and physiotherapist at City Sports & Physiotherapy clinic in Vancouver. He has treated and trained athletes and weekend warriors worldwide from a variety of sports keeping them Fit to Play™ & Perform for over 30 years. Carl is an internationally recognized and sought-after speaker. He is regularly found educating physicians, physiotherapists, coaches, and athletes around the world on the principles of keeping Fit to Play™. In 2007, he was the recipient of the Physiotherapy Association of BC “Award of Excellence for Clinical Contribution”. He has written over 300 articles and co-authored a number of books, DVD’s and other training resources including the just released Fit to Play™ Golf-Improve Fitness & Lower Your Score.  On twitter @Fit2PlayCarl,email:  Carl is a proud member of CPA and belongs to XXXX Division(s) (as applicable)