Over the past month I have been working with a client who has been having difficulty with his golf game, but as it turned out I have helped him get his independence back, while also improving his golf game with Pilates exercises.

To me it was not his golf game that was his problem, it was more his inability to walk without having to hold on to his wife or using a stick for support. On examination, he had difficulty recruiting his core muscles, coupled with weak hip muscles, meaning he could not walk with stability. And of course these issue were also impacting his golf game.

The client had two hip replacements (11yrs / 3yrs ago), he had limited rehabilitation following the surgery. During his assessment I watched how he walked, he was not flexing through his ankles and was walking flat footed. When I asked why he walks like this, he explained that, before his last hip operation it use to hurt him when he heel strikes. Even though he has not had hip pain in 3 yrs his body was still walking this way.

The body is amazing at compensating to avoid pain, which leads to specific movement patterns developing, hence this why you need to rehab after every injury to undo the compensation pattern.

In addition, the fact he had very little glute or core strength, meant he could not balance on one leg and would lose balance when changing direction.

As part of his first session, I worked with him on how to walk properly, taking him through the gait cycle, ensuring he started to flex through his ankle and start to heel strike more.  I also taught him how to engage his pelvic floor muscles, enabling him to walk with more stability.

On his return visit, the transformation was very apparent, he was walking with more heel strike and confidence, he had learnt how to engage his pelvic floor muscles and had built up some good endurance in the short space of time, he was also turning without stumbling.

Over the course of the next 3 weeks we worked on a number of Pilates style exercises, teaching him how to disassociate his upper body from his lower body, giving him more mobility through his hips while also strengthening his glutes and core.

On his most recent visit he reported that he can now drive the ball 125yrds, 25yrds further than he was able to do before starting to work with me. And more importantly for me, he says he is gaining more independence and confidence in how he walks, he does not need to hold his wife for support and I have also been able to improve his golf game…

This client is 68yrs old and has told me I have given him back his independence, and with a lot of work from him we have improved his golf game. This is why I love my job and being a Physical Therapist.