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Wednesday, October 23, 2013


Henrik Stenson Wrist Injury - Preventable?

News is just out that Henrik Stenson is suffering from a left wrist injury in Shanghai which may complicate his plans to play 7 tournaments in a row on the 'Race to Dubai.' Of course it is no surprise to us at Handmaster Plus that a golfer of this stature is having problems with his wrist, especially the extensor side of the left arm as a right-handed golfer. This is the same mechanical imbalance that has lead to innumerable famous golf injuries including Tiger Woods left elbow and Mike Weir's right elbow. But wait a minute Henrik Stenson has a wrist injury, whereas Tiger Woods and Mike Weir (and probably nearly every journeyman PGA golfer) had an elbow injury? That's different, right?

The leading medical health experts would say that these are not the same. One is elbow. One is wrist. And that is how the statistics are kept - i.e. according to 1) the name of the joint and 2) the catchy medical sounding name of the condition of which the 'symptoms' are to be treated (of course usually by drugs and surgery, the main tools of the medical 'expert'). Do you recognize tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis), golfer's elbow (medial epicondylitis), carpal tunnel syndrome and wrist tendonitis? These are the four main golf injury conditions of the golfer's distal upper extremity. All are categorized separately. All are common in golfers, but as individual categories, they each fall behind the number one golf injury, back pain.

This is where the archaic thinking of the joint injury and not the mechanics of the joint injury leads to a limited understanding of the cause of the problem. Because back injury is not the #1 health problem in golf, hand and wrist muscle imbalance is. Repetitive grip in training and practise and getting through heavy rough is. And the result of chronic hand and wrist imbalance, to name a few, are tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis), golfer's elbow (medial epicondylitis), carpal tunnel syndrome and wrist tendonitis. Sound familiar? So group all hand, wrist carpal tunnel & elbow injuries into one category called 'repetitive grip imbalance injuries.' Let's call this 'new' condition RGII's and then see what the #1 injury in professional golf is.... is it back pain or RGII?

We know, through sEMG studies, that when we grip anything (whether it be a golf club, a tennis racquet, a guitar, a dumbbell, a kettlebell, etc.), BOTH the muscles that close the hand contract AND the muscles that open the hand contract. Grip is a co-contraction.
This means that the hand opening (extensor/abductor) muscles contract to support the contraction of the hand closing (flexor/adductor) muscles so that the hand can grip. Stay with me now... The problem is that the 9 muscles that close the hand contract through a relatively full range of motion, BUT the muscles that open the hand contract in relatively one position STATICALLY.
Thus, the entire extensor chain of muscles (from the back of the fingers to outside of the elbow) contract over and over in one position - creating a weak, overused, inflexible stabilizer band that is very open to INJURY.

This extensor band of muscles also affects the stability of the fingers, hand, wrist, carpal tunnel & elbow because it also offsets the flexor band to keep the joints balanced. In other words imbalance between the flexor band and the extensor band are a root cause of a lot of injures and painful conditions, not just elbow injuries!!!

Balanced hand exercise where all muscles that open and close the hand is the key to minimizing these debilitating injuries. We developed Handmaster Plus FOR golfers, because Dr. Terry Zachary was a professional golfer and noticed this same training imbalance in the 1990's. Since then golf equipment technology research has expanded exponentially, grip training not so much. Only recently have the trainers of the big tours started to take notice since Handmaster Plus is now in the hands of many pros on all senior and regular circuits around the world.

Henrik Stenson is predictably experiencing wrist extensor tendinitis on his lead wrist (the left wrist for right handed golfer). Tiger Woods experienced elbow tendonitis in his lead elbow (the left elbow for a right handed golfer). Mike Weir experienced elbow tendonitis in his lead elbow (the right elbow for a left handed golfer). Though grip hand, wrist and elbow imbalance can also lead to elbow injuries in the trail elbow (i.e. John Daly), the lead wrist and elbow are most common. The lateral elbow and posterior wrist of the lead arm are most open to injury in golf, as are the medial elbow and anterior wrist of the trail arm. That said, 'the imbalance is the imbalance' and golf is a stressful game on the hands, wrists and elbows. All golfers 'grow' differently to adapt to their body types and swing technique patterns differently. The location of injury can be anywhere and somewhat unpredictable (John Daly's elbow injury was lateral elbow on the trail arm, the right arm, not easily predictable).

What is completely predictable is that unless accomplished golfers, both professional and amateur, start to train their grip muscles properly hand, wrist, carpal tunnel & elbow injuries will continue at a high rate.

Visit #1 complete hand strengthener to find more information about Handmaster Plus.

Contact us at for more information regarding grip and grip muscle training for golf or any other grip related sport, music or workplace activity.

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