by William D Charschan DC, CCSP Author Cheating Mother Nature, what you need to know to beat chronic pain.
On, March 12th, CBS News reported that Tiger Woods had to withdraw from the Cadillac Championship because of what he described as a sore achillies tendon. While many athletes have problems with their back and legs especially as they age, Tiger has had a history of left knee, right ankle, and neck problems as well as a previously ruptured right Achilles tendon and stress tibial fractures in his left leg (more info here).
Of course, a professional athlete with his resources and reputation should have the best care anyone could ask for, and because of the high stakes of the game, he will not bow out of a tournament easily.
What if there is an obvious reason for the injuries that were never diagnosed because most health care practitioners have never learned about its importance? The book, Cheating Mother Nature, what you need to know to beat chronic pain offers some vital clues to why Tiger has had repeated problems in his legs and back.
Conventional wisdom in healthcare and sports would dictate that he is an elite athlete who has injured his Achilles tendon on the right and ripped up his left knee from overuse. Since these are not uncommon injuries, these ideas are widely accepted as being true. From a golfers perspective, the golf swing requires great pelvis stability during the swing which places stress on these areas. Most people from the conventional perspective fail to see what is obvious in these photos. If we look at Tiger from an engineering perspective, we see something different.
Those who are built asymmetrically are that way because of genetics. As described by Brian Rothbart DPM in his bio implosion model, when the foot turns out, the leg rolls in and so does the shoulder as the lower back hyperextends in compensation. As described in Charschan’s basic pronation accommodation pattern, the muscles and the fascia that surrounds them will adapt to this and remodel itself deforming the core fascia and literally lock it distorting his pelvis which creates an uneven distribution of forces throughout his body, something he has accommodated to through body compensation. If you look at the photos, notice that his right foot turns out. This is foot overpronation which also drops his right hip lower. To compensate for this on the left side, his lateral leg, hip flexors in the front will tighten, placing huge forces in the kneecap and the ligaments by creating shear and medial rotation at the knee. On the right side where the foot turns out and the hip drops, the leg will have a shortened stride, which will create adhesion formation in the back of the knee and the gluteal muscles on that side, which will place tension into the calf and Achilles.
When we look at the complaints he has, this matches perfectly with his left-sided knee injuries and right-sided Achilles problems. This is a textbook case of a gait issue as per Charschan’s book Cheating Mother Nature. Because his midsection distorts or torques over time (this is a process that has been present since he was a child, and therefore he sees this as normal), the unequal distribution of forces from the pelvis will cause his legs to tighten because a torqued core ineffective.
While the author of this article has never met Tiger Woods, it would be safe to say that he has a heavy heel strike and likely slams his foot in the ground which over time would lock up both that ankle and the hip on the right side making this problem worse. It is also quite likely that he has to constantly work an unstable core which he has been able to stabilize partially despite his body style issues through constantly working his legs and having frequent work done to relax the latissimus dorsi and the deep lower back muscle to allow for flexibility in his upper body during the golf swing.
While scanning the internet, I have noticed some enterprising podiatrists seem to believe he may need a boot and foot orthotics. The author definitely agrees with foot orthotics to level his pelvis and help with stability while walking and then swinging the club. The boot idea works on the symptom only, rather than why he continues to re-injure himself and cannot address the problem since stretching is of limited benefit.
To summarize, Tiger has a gait issue and everyone is looking at the injuries which are the micro (the seemingly obvious problem) vs. the gait issue which is the macro (the underlying reason). The symptom he experienced the author believes was sciatica based on his history and these photos, not an Achilles issue although I have no doubt his Achilles was quite tight as well as his calf on the right side.
How to fix Tiger Woods.
1. Foot orthotics – improves his body style while allowing the transference of force through his core muscle during the swing for the better transference of force.
2. Fascial Release – Whether ART, Graston or another style, fascial release to improve his core and release the fascial distortion in his core first and then his legs will take the load off his legs and allow for more power off the ball and more symmetrical loads when he swings a golf club.
3. Core training after his stability improves. He can use a personal trainer quite effectively after step 2. The Wii fit actually works quite well. toward achieving better core stability.
4. Chiropractic manipulation would be quite helpful. I would be surprised if this is not part of his regimen.
5. Proprioceptive exercises to improve side to side balance, strength, and coordination.
Tiger, I hope you read this. It has been a tough few years for you and I would like to see you stage a great comeback. Hopefully, someone will pass these tips along to you.