Tiger's (Almost) Back

11 October 2016, 12:00 am
Published in Blog

Tiger Woods announced last week that he is returning to the PGA Tour. After 14 months away, Tiger was set to make his return at the Safeway Open.

But then...he withdrew.

Much has been made of Tiger's golfing career. From his march toward Jack Nicklaus' Major record, to his personal life, to his overall health and battle with injuries, Tiger has been in the spotlight his entire career. Last week was no different, as Woods announced that the wait was over, and he was returning to play. Social Media lit up, and tickets to the Safeway Open spiked.

But then he backed out.

The announcement yesterday that he wasn't going to play came as a shock to many in the golf world. Woods claimed that his game simply wasn't up to his standards, and if Tiger Woods can't compete at the highest level (which one has to assume means the level he was at when he won four straight Majors), then why even bother, right?

He stated that his body is good, and it was not the reason for pulling out of this week's tournament, but one has to wonder if that's actually true. I'll argue that while he might not feel any pain, his body isn't good at all.

I have studied Tiger's swing, studied his body, and studied his function (notice I didn't say his "swing mechanics"), and it all adds up to exactly what he has experienced to this point: pain and suffering.

While Tiger will argue that his body is good, and he is physically able to return to the game he loves, I don't believe he has done anything to get to the root cause of his injuries (and I believe they all have a singular root cause). I also believe that he and those he surrounds himself with have turned a blind eye to just how connected all his injuries are. Just to refresh your memory, take a look at the list of Tiger's injuries and see if anything jumps out at you:

October 1994: Left knee surgery

December 13, 2002: Left knee surgery

August 2007: Ruptured left ACL

August 2008: Left knee surgery

May 2008: Stress fracture in left tibia

June 2008: Surgery on left ACL

2008: Tore right Achilles tendon

May 2010: Inflamed facet joint in neck

May 2011: Sprain of left MCL and left Achilles tendon

March 2012: Left Achilles injury

June 2013: Left elbow strain

March 2014: Lower back spasms, then back surgery

August 2014: Lower back pain

September 2015: Microdiscectomy surgery

October 2015: Microdiscectomy surgery again

Notice a trend? Of the 15 injuries listed, nine are on his left side, and five (the neck pain and the recent low back symptoms) aren't specified. Only one--the right Achilles tendon injury in 2008--is specific to his right side. In other words, over 90% of his injuries are either on the left side or not specified to be on the right side of his body. Is there a link to these injuries? Is this trend significant? Should we make anything out of the majority of his injures being left-sided? I believe the answer to all of these questions to be "yes."

What's the one common denominator among these injuries? The answer: Tiger. Tiger is the link. His body is the one wild card in his golf swing. He works and works to hone his swing. He has worked with some of the top swing instructors. He has the best equipment in the game. Yet it's his body that continually lets him down. Throughout Tiger's career, his body, and more specifically his left side, has been screaming at him, alerting him to the fact that something isn't right. Something is off.

Sadly, Tiger has largely missed the mark when it comes to his therapy and rehab. Everything he has done has been focused on the site of the injury rather than the source of the injury. From what I have seen of Tiger and his overall function, his hips have completely shut down. It's crucial that he (and you, for that matter) remember the hips are both the basis of support for the upper half, while simultaneously being the driver of the lower half. And golf is very much an upper-half/lower-half game. The more the golfer can separate (disassociate) his upper and lower half, the better the swing, the greater the power, the farther the drive, etc. Rather than Tiger being able to disassociate his upper body from his lower body using his hips, other parts have started to take up the slack. In my opinion, his lumbar spine has become the genesis for rotation, not his hips. As his his hips have lost function, a painful domino effect has been triggered. His Achilles, knees, low back, elbow, and neck have all suffered the consequences. But these injuries aren't a death-sentence. Quite the opposite, actually,. Tiger has a chance to regain control of his health. He can restore function to his load joints. Specifically, he needs to start by restoring full function and range of motion to the hips, and all of these injuries will be a thing of the past. But if he remains symptom-driven (rather than cause-driven), he can kiss his career goodbye, if it's not already gone.

QUESTION: What is your opinion on all of Tiger's injuries?

As always, thanks for sharing these posts with your friends and family (it's easy, just click below)! Don't forget to join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter. You can follow Pete on Twitter, and you can follow me there as well.

Community: All of us want it. Some of us actually achieve it.

Whether it's through your neighborhood, work, church, or adult kickball team, we're all seeking to tap in, get to know each other better, and dig deeper. But more than that, we're all wanting to build a group of friends who we can laugh with, play with, cry with, and from time-to-time, commiserate with. We want to know that we have folks in our inner-circle who are like-minded, and we strive to surround ourselves with those who have similar interests, dreams, and desires.

One industry that has perfectly mastered building a "community" is CrossFit. Whether you love it, hate it, do it daily, or have never stepped foot in a CrossFit gym in your life, there's no arguing that those folks have done a remarkable job of creating an atmosphere where everyone is cheering everyone else on. Inside a CrossFit gym, you're expected to do your best...whatever that may be.

Another place where you can find community is at Egoscue. Whether it's dropping by your local clinic to do your menu or getting a group of friends together and doing a Patch Fitness workout, we want you to feel as though you're welcome anytime. We want you to have friends there who you look forward to seeing and working out with. Friends who are like-minded and have the same interests, dreams, and desires.

For those of you in the golf community, you might have heard the name Jason Glass. Jason is the founder of the Jason Glass Performance Lab, speaks all over the world with Titleist Performance Institute (TPI), and works one-on-one with some of the top golfers on the PGA Tour. He recently sat down with one of Egoscue's Vice Presidents, Brian Bradley, to talk about The Egoscue Method, The Patch, living pain free, and building community on the Jason Glass Podcast. The interview is excellent and certainly one you don't want to miss!

Click on the picture to listen to the podcast!

QUESTION: How do you build community?

As always, thanks for sharing these posts with your friends and family (it's easy, just click below)! Don't forget to join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter. You can follow Pete on Twitter, and you can follow me there as well.

 

The Top-5 Posts of 2015

16 December 2015, 12:00 am
Published in Blog

First of all, let me say a huge THANK YOU to all of our blog readers and subscribers! We have had nearly 1,500 of you subscribe, and we've only had the blog fully up and running since April! If you haven't subscribed yet, what are you waiting for? And, don't forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. You can also follow Pete Egoscue on Twitter!

This week's post is a year-in-review, and I'm revisiting the Top-5 posts of 2015. In case you missed any of them, here they are! Enjoy!

 

5. There's No Such Thing as a Tommy John Epidemic

If you know me at all, then you know that I’m a baseball fan. I grew up playing the game as a kid, continued playing at Yale University, and now have the honor of coaching my two oldest boys as they learn to play the game.

But lately, I’ve noticed something very alarming about the game I love. There is an increasing number of elbow injuries popping up throughout the game. From Little League to the Major Leagues, players, and specifically pitchers, are going down with elbow injuries.

The diagnosis is almost always the same: A torn ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in the player’s elbow.

The blame is almost always the same: Too many pitches thrown in a season, or throwing a curve ball at too young of an age, or too many innings pitched in a year, etc.

The solution is almost always the same: Reconstructive surgery (also known as Tommy John Surgery, named after the player who first had the procedure done).

Yet the cause is almost always missed:

- See more at: http://egoscue.com/blog/item/65-no-tommy-john-epidemic-egoscue#sthash.4aYgAGr1.dpuf

If you know me at all, then you know that I’m a baseball fan. I grew up playing the game as a kid, continued playing at Yale University, and now have the honor of coaching my two oldest boys as they learn to play the game.

But lately, I’ve noticed something very alarming about the game I love. There is an increasing number of elbow injuries popping up throughout the game. From Little League to the Major Leagues, players, and specifically pitchers, are going down with elbow injuries.

The diagnosis is almost always the same: A torn ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in the player’s elbow.

The blame is almost always the same: Too many pitches thrown in a season, or throwing a curve ball at too young of an age, or too many innings pitched in a year, etc.

The solution is almost always the same: Reconstructive surgery (also known as Tommy John Surgery, named after the player who first had the procedure done).

Yet the cause is almost always missed:

- See more at: http://egoscue.com/blog/item/65-no-tommy-john-epidemic-egoscue#sthash.4aYgAGr1.dpuf

If you know me at all, then you know that I’m a baseball fan. I grew up playing the game as a kid, continued playing at Yale University, and now have the honor of coaching my two oldest boys as they learn to play the game.

But lately, I’ve noticed something very alarming about the game I love. There is an increasing number of elbow injuries popping up throughout the game. From Little League to the Major Leagues, players, and specifically pitchers, are going down with elbow injuries.

The diagnosis is almost always the same: A torn ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in the player’s elbow.

The blame is almost always the same: Too many pitches thrown in a season, or throwing a curve ball at too young of an age, or too many innings pitched in a year, etc.

The solution is almost always the same: Reconstructive surgery (also known as Tommy John Surgery, named after the player who first had the procedure done).

Yet the cause is almost always missed:

- See more at: http://egoscue.com/blog/item/65-no-tommy-john-epidemic-egoscue#sthash.4aYgAGr1.dpuf

If you know me at all, then you know that I’m a baseball fan. I grew up playing the game as a kid, continued playing at Yale University, and now have the honor of coaching my two oldest boys as they learn to play the game.

But lately, I’ve noticed something very alarming about the game I love. There is an increasing number of elbow injuries popping up throughout the game. From Little League to the Major Leagues, players, and specifically pitchers, are going down with elbow injuries.

The diagnosis is almost always the same: A torn ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in the player’s elbow.

The blame is almost always the same: Too many pitches thrown in a season, or throwing a curve ball at too young of an age, or too many innings pitched in a year, etc.

The solution is almost always the same: Reconstructive surgery (also known as Tommy John Surgery, named after the player who first had the procedure done).

Yet the cause is almost always missed...

READ MORE...

 

 

4. Fighting "Dysevolution"

 

We all know that things evolve. People, animals, we all adapt. We make the best of our surroundings. We tend to stick with things that we discover are of benefit to us, while we dump other ideas that have little-to-no impact on our lives. The wheel, for example, has proven pretty important. Google+, on the other hand...where did that go?

Adaptation is a part of life.

It's a part of being alive.

However, you might not have heard of the term "dysevolution." I certainly hadn't until recently, when I stumbled upon an article from Discover magazine. Harvard researcher (and all-around advocate of motion, specifically barefoot running) Daniel Lieberman suggests that modern-day humans are dysevolving, and at a fairly rapid rate.

READ MORE...

 

 

3. Drink More, Pee Less: The Key to Hydration

 

I’m guessing that title has you a little curious. I’m sure that you’re thinking that by drinking more, you’ll have to urinate more, but that’s not exactly true.

I’m sure that if you were to drink three large glasses of water right now you would, no doubt, have to run to the restroom within the hour. However, it’s not the water’s fault. It’s also not your bladder’s fault. I don’t think you have a “small” bladder or a bladder that has become “over stretched” and therefore can’t function correctly. I believe you’re dehydrated.

The majority of us are thinking about the bladder incorrectly. We are thinking of it as a bowl (a holding compartment) rather than a membrane (something that is designed to be saturated and lubricated).

Think about what happens when you pour water over a dry sponge...

READ MORE...

 

 

2. The Knee: Complex, Yet Simple

I love a good oxymoron. Phrases like "jumbo shrimp," "deafening silence," or the fact that we "park" in a driveway and "drive" on a parkway, can really get us thinking!

But what if we applied that link of thinking to the body? Is there a joint in the body that can be described oxymoronically? According to Pete Egoscue, there is a joint in the body that provides us with a bit of an anatomical oxymoron...

READ MORE...

 

 

1. Rory McIlroy's Biggest Injury Concern

 

Apparently the #1 ranked golfer in the world isn’t bulletproof.

On Sunday, the PGA’s top-ranked player, Rory McIlroy, posted this photo on his Instagram account, revealing that he had completely torn a ligament in his ankle while playing soccer with his buddies.

Of course it can be said, and it has been said, that his injury was “foolish” and “stupid.” Should the No. 1 golfer in the world be playing soccer? That’s debatable, and folks have weighed in on both ends of the spectrum. I think it’s safe to say that sarcasm and vitriol have ruled the Twitter-sphere over the last few days.

But, while everyone is worried about the short-term impact this injury will have on his World Golf Rankings, I think there is a far greater concern that Rory hasn’t even thought about...

READ MORE...

 

Again, THANK YOU for a great 2015! We're looking forward to bringing you more great content in 2016! 

If you have questions about specific symptoms or have blog post suggestions, contact us now!

Tiger Woods Doesn't Need to "Get More Fit"

25 August 2015, 12:00 am
Published in Blog
Tiger Woods’ season came to an end Sunday at the Wyndham Championship after finishing tied for 10th place. While Woods made a run at the FedEx Cup Playoff, he fell short of qualifying for the end-of-season tournament.
 
But, more eye-opening than Woods missing the playoff, was the admission that he suffered from hip pain during the final round. When asked if he grabbed his back on the 11th hole on Sunday, Woods responded, “It’s not my back, no.” Then, when pressed on the issue, Tiger admitted it was, “Just my hip.”
 
Just your hip, huh, Tiger? It’s the “next” joint on the list, I guess?

While some might hear that Tiger was hurting and become alarmed, for me that was not the most alarming portion of Tiger’s press conference. No, the most alarming statement in Tiger’s post-round presser was how he ended it.

“This is my offseason right now,” Woods said. “It will be nice. I got lots of soccer games and practices to go to, so I’ll be doing that and just working out, training and trying to get more fit” (emphasis added).

Trying to get more fit…

Trying to get more fit…

Trying to get more fit…

It’s like a bad dream. Those words keep repeating in my head.

Trying to get more fit? Let me make one thing perfectly clear: Tiger is the fittest golfer I’ve ever seen as well as the greatest golfer I’ve witnessed in my lifetime.

It can be argued that the game of golf hasn’t seen another golfer as dominant as Tiger, and the game may never see his level of dominance again (although I believe we all need to stay tuned to Jordan Spieth’s career).

Tiger doesn’t need to “get more fit.”

Let’s be honest, golf isn’t a get-more-fit kind of sport. When thinking about the greats of the game–guys like Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, and Lee Travino–and their respective levels of fitness, with all due respect, those guys don’t look like they just got finished competing in a Mr. Olympia contest. While golf can be a fit-man’s game, golf isn’t just a fit-man’s game. I mean, come on, Craig Stadler’s nickname is “The Walrus” for crying out loud.

You see, this isn’t about “fitness,” Tiger. This is about imbalance. It’s about the body’s ability to swing a golf club. More specifically, this article is about your body’s ability to swing a golf club around your structural dysfunctions. The body is so good at getting you through the swing that the motion is accomplished, often times, despite the physical consequences. That’s exactly what your body has done. The average TV viewer sees you’re swinging a golf club just fine, but I see that your functional limitations are preventing you from doing it pain free. If you’ll allow me to make a comparison to Tom Cruise’s character, Maverick, in Top Gun — You’re writing checks your body can’t cash.

Let me cut to the chase, Tiger: Your level of fitness has nothing to do with how good or bad your golf game is. Instead, it has everything to do with your lack of proper hip function which has started a cascade of structural “events” throughout your body. If you haven’t already, take a minute and read about The Importance of the Hip Flexor. If you choose not to read that article, just remember one thing: If momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. Just like mom reigns supreme at home, the hip flexor and its function reign supreme in the body. Whether that body belongs to a pro golfer, an attorney, an entrepreneur, or a high schooler who plays piccolo in the marching band, proper hip function, specifically hip flexor function, is the key to a pain free life.

While Tiger didn’t specify which hip was hurting him, it honestly doesn’t matter. Both hips need to be balanced. My hips need to be balanced. Your hips need to be balanced. We would all benefit from bilaterally functioning hips.

Tiger thinks that the Ferrari he calls his body will perform better if he simply increases the horsepower of the engine. What’s true is that he instead needs to get the frame straight. Only then will the “Ferrari” perform as it’s designed to perform.

Tiger, this offseason, don’t get “fit.” Get balanced.

QUESTION: What are your thoughts on Tiger’s latest injury?

If you're looking to get balanced, contact us today! As always, thanks for sharing these posts with your friends and family. And, don't forget to join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter!

Rory McIlroy's Biggest Injury Concern

9 July 2015, 12:00 am
Published in Blog

Apparently the #1 ranked golfer in the world isn’t bulletproof.

On Sunday, the PGA’s top-ranked player, Rory McIlroy, posted this photo on his Instagram account, revealing that he had completely torn a ligament in his ankle while playing soccer with his buddies.

 

 

Of course it can be said, and it has been said, that his injury was “foolish” and “stupid.” Should the No. 1 golfer in the world be playing soccer? That’s debatable, and folks have weighed in on both ends of the spectrum. I think it’s safe to say that sarcasm and vitriol have ruled the Twitter-sphere over the last few days.

But, while everyone is worried about the short-term impact this injury will have on his World Golf Rankings, I think there is a far greater concern that Rory hasn’t even thought about. Most of the concern has focused around Rory’s ankle, and rightly so. That’s where the injury occurred, and there needs to be focus there. He’ll certainly need to have an intense, tailored rehab program geared toward rehabilitating the ankle. That’s a given.

Everyone in the golf world is asking about when he will return to the course. Early estimates say he’ll be out for at least 6-8 weeks, but most likely longer that that. There was actually talk of him playing through this particular injury, but he confirmed today that he will miss the third major tournament of the year, The Open Championship, scheduled for July 16-19 at St. Andrews

However, I believe Rory’s focus shouldn’t be solely on his ankle, and he shouldn’t worry about when he’ll tee it up again. No, I believe there is a much, much larger potential problem starting him in the face. It’s an issue that is lurking under the surface that he most likely has no idea is even there.

Rory’s hip function is in serious jeopardy.

Think about it: proper ankle function leads to proper hip function, and vice versa. Remember, the foot bone is connected to the ankle bone, and it’s a two-way street. While Rory is hobbling around in a boot for the next several weeks, it might just be his left hip that suffers the most. Take a look at this picture:

Specifically, take a look at the middle of the picture where it says, “Terminal Stance” and “Pre-Swing” as these need to be our areas of focus. As you go through the gait process, Terminal Stance is when your “standing leg” reaches the end point of its contact with the ground. The Pre-Swing phase is when that same leg begins to swing forward. Your hip flexes, lifts your foot off the ground, and propels the leg forward to continue the walking process.

But there’s a key moment where I want us to focus for a second, and it’s precisely what Rory will be missing during the gait cycle for the next several weeks. Focus on the Pre-Swing phase. At that moment, the ankle starts to plantar flex (as if you were pointing your toes to the ground) while the hip is still in extension. When you’re in that toe-off position, the body is readying the hip for engagement. The hip flexor (one of the most important muscles of the human body) is being called into action. The hip is being asked to work, providing a key element to the gait cycle. But for Rory, that isn’t going to happen. He’s in a boot, and he’s on crutches. Not a good combination. Because his ankle isn’t allowed to function properly, there’s no way his hip will function properly. Truth be told, he’s in jeopardy of his left hip shutting down.

Even after the fact when he's out of the boot, because he’ll be timid to load his left foot and ankle when he does return, and because he hasn’t loaded his left hip in weeks due to being on crutches, I believe Rory is setting himself up for a major injury sooner rather than later. If his left hip to shuts down over the next several weeks, he’s really rolling the dice on whether he’ll ever make a full recovery. With Rory’s swing (and any golfer, for that matter), his left hip is incredibly important. It’s his lead hip, his weight-acceptance hip, the one that has to be able to stay down, loaded, and engaged as the club head approaches the ball.

Please understand, I’m not trying to play Nostradamus, but I’ve seen compensatory injuries far too often throughout my Egoscue career to not see it coming. If you’re doubting what I’m saying, you can reference the numerous times I've discussed Tiger Woods' injuries HERE (listen to the radio segment I did), HERE, HERE and HERE.

Not only is Rory in danger of losing hip function, but because he’ll be overcompensating with his upper body during that time as a result of the crutches, he is setting himself up for an upper-body injury down the road as well.

For Rory’s sake, and for the game of golf, I truly hope that history isn't repeating itself and we aren’t seeing the beginning of the end for another No. 1 golfer in the world.

QUESTION: What are your thoughts on Rory’s injury and future?