Can Bryson Dechambeau recover from his injuries?


Bryson Dechambeau’s 2022 season is likely not shaping up how he imagined it. The number 12th ranked player in the world has been hampered by injuries citing his left wrist and hip which caused the golfer to withdraw from the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Bryson is the defending champ at Bay Hill Lodge having won last year and won’t have the chance to defend his title. With Bryson having packed on a ton of muscle over the past couple of years and always pushing his body to the limit it begs the question- has he gone too far?

What we Know

During a press conference on January 13th Bryson stated that all of the speed training he had been doing had caused some left wrist pain and discomfort which caused him to withdraw from the Sony Open. Bryson then missed the cut in the Farmer’s insurance open a few weeks later with Bryson stating: “It was the left wrist,” “It’s been bothering me for about three or four weeks now, all of this speed training and whatnot, definitely taking a toll on the actual muscular structure. Initially, when I said my hands were killing me, it was more of like the skin back in late last year. Then now it’s just gotten to a point where I’m putting so much speed and force into the wrist that we haven’t been taking care of the wrist.”

Bryson also has been battling a left hip injury which appears to be the result of a fall he incurred at the Saudi International. Here is what Bryson had to say at the time: “Everyone needs to chill. Yes, I hurt myself but not from hitting it far,” DeChambeau saidOpens in a new tab.. “I slipped and fell this week on Tuesday unfortunately. I know people probably won’t believe me, but that is the truth. I will be back stronger and better than ever in a few weeks. This quote is not all that telling however as we do not know if Bryson has been battling some left hip soreness or pain for quite some time or if it is solely due to this fall that he had.

What Bryson had to say about withdrawing from the Arnold Invitational

Severity of the Injuries

So how serious are Bryson’s injuries and how long will they keep him out of play? While there is only limited information that Bryson and his team have stated there are some important considerations to take the main one I believe is that Bryson stated that he started to feel some differences as early as last year. Looking at this quote again: “It’s been bothering me for about three or four weeks now, all of this speed training and whatnot, definitely taking a toll on the actual muscular structure. Initially, when I said my hands were killing me, it was more of like the skin back in late last year. Then now it’s just gotten to a point where I’m putting so much speed and force into the wrist that we haven’t been taking care of the wrist.” Bryson clearly states he was feeling some changes as early as last year which has gotten progressively worse and has now started to affect the wrist. The wrist and hands are an integral part of the golf game and if injured will make posting good scores all but impossible.

Fragility of the Hands/Wrists

The hands and the wrists are very complicated structures and humans have some of the most evolved in the animal kingdom. The amount of fine motor control and sensation which humans have in their hands far outweigh many other species and is a key factor in what has allowed us to advance so far ahead and become the most dominant animal in the world. That said there is almost always a trade-off in the biomechanics/anatomy of the body. The tremendous amount of fine motor control humans possess comes at the cost of the hands and wrists being fragile and more prone to injury and later on in life arthritis. One of the main causes of injuries in the hands and wrists isn’t a blunt force injury such as falling and catching yourself with your hand, it is repetitive motions over time that lead to the slow destruction of those joints/structures. Repetitive motions can also cause swelling and inflammation which are one of the body’s natural healing mechanisms and by themselves are good. However, being left unchecked can lead to serious problems down the line.

The golf swing involves a considerable amount of fine motor as well as gross motor control of the wrist and hand joint with many of the different structures being called into play- ligaments, tendons, muscles, etc… The golf swing is also a repetitive motion. The hallmark of being a good player is being able to use a repeatable swing. One of the potential downfalls of this is that the repetitive motion of the swing can lead to arthritis or inflammation of many of the joints- hands, wrist, knees, and hips to name some of the more commonly affected areas. One of the best treatments for this if caught early on is to simply cease the activity which caused the pain in the first place for a couple of weeks while also icing the area for 15 to 20 min two to three times per day. Elevating the affected area can also help if there is some swelling such as might occur in the knees or lower legs. The problem for Bryson as a professional golfer is it is very difficult to just take several weeks off as there are tournaments every week and Bryson is also sponsored heavily and his sponsors expect him to be playing and showing off whatever product they are sponsoring him for. Add to the mix Bryson having competed in a long drive tournament and trying to get his ball speed as high as possible- it spells a recipe for disaster.

Lets talk about the hip

The hip joint is also fragile as it is a ball and socket joint which allows for greater flexibility at the cost of stability. This is one of the reasons it is often injured in older adults with hip replacements being a very common surgery as people age. That said the hip is a much sturdier joint or area than the hand/wrist that is plaguing Bryson. Bryson did not mention the hip as a reason for him withdrawing from the Arnold Invitational so I do not believe this is a limiting factor at this point, so I will briefly mention it here. As Bryson is a right-handed golfer he depends on the left side to a very large degree to allow him to rotate as much as possible and also as a force generator. The hip joints are anchored by some very strong muscles- Quadriceps, hamstrings, hip abductors, and the large gluteal muscles also have attachments at the hip joint. The problem is that these muscles are also tugging at the hip joint when they are called into action during the golf swing which can lead to some inflammation and pain in that area. If this is an overuse problem it can be easily solved similarly to the hands/wrists. One must swallow their pride and simply take some time off while also icing the area several times per day. Within a few weeks return to play albeit slowly and perhaps start at 70% and then over a week or two ramp it back up to 100%. I do not believe this is Bryson’s problem with the hip however as it seems it was trauma-related due to the fall he had which might have simply needed a little bit of rest and is now back to 100%

Impact of Bryson’s quest for speed

Now for the elephant in the room. Has Bryson the mad scientist gone too far? Has his quest for more speed via bulking up and pounding protein shakes finally caught up to him? These are all valid questions and likely what is on everyone’s mind. I do believe there is some truth that Bryson is more susceptible to injury because he is pushing his body to the limit and his involvement in some long drive tournaments likely hasn’t helped the issue. No matter how good your trainers are, how good your nutrition/diet is, how good your sleep is, and in general how well you are taking care of your body is- if you set out to do what no one else has done which requires you to do things no-one else has done or is willing to do, you are going to put yourself at a higher risk of getting hurt. In the case of Bryson and the world of golf, this has meant packing on pounds of muscle and training like a mad man to increase how far he can hit the ball. It has also brought the golf world one of the most polarizing but fun and exciting players to watch in recent times. I think people need to cut Bryson some slack and realize that he is going where no one has gone before and there isn’t much research or data for him to go off on. That being said, I would say it is very likely that Bryson’s injuries and recent setbacks are in large part attributable to his never-ending quest for more speed. If you push the body for too long it will eventually break down somewhere. Bryson and his team have likely been focused on the larger muscles and joints of the body and may have not given enough time and focus to the smaller but just as important areas such as the wrist/hand.

What should he do?

Again I think everyone needs to relax and realize this was likely something that was going to happen at some point. Bryson pushed his body too far and now simply needs to take some time off, rest, go through the proper recovery process with his healthcare team, and then get back on the course. He will now be armed with more information as to what his limits are and can utilize that in the future.

For the immediate future, however, I believe Bryson will need to tone it down a notch for a month or possibly two to allow his body to fully recover. Smashing 400-yard bombs shouldn’t be the focus at this point but just putting together some solid rounds and then slowly ramping his intensity back to 100%. Allow the hand and wrist to heal up fully as it could turn into a career-long nagging injury if he isn’t careful and tries to muscle on through this crucial recovery phase. Put the long drive tournaments on the back burner as well. Rest and recover to 100% and then start thinking about that again. I don’t see this minor setback as a problem but a necessary step in Bryson’s career and he will likely encounter many more of them. You don’t rise to the top of the mountain without a few scars and tumbles along the way. I predict a few more rocky months out of Bryson and then a much stronger second half of the year.

Related Articles

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Disclaimer

Although I am a Doctor of Physical Therapy by profession, I am not your Physical Therapist nor am I a Medical Doctor. All content and information on this website are for informational purposes only, do not constitute medical advice, and do not establish any kind of patient-client relationship by your use of this website. A patient-client relationship with you is only formed after we have expressly entered into a written agreement with you that you have signed including our terms to represent you in a specific manner. Although we strive to provide accurate general information, the information presented here is not a substitute for any kind of professional advice, and you should not rely solely on this information. Always consult a professional in the area for your particular needs and circumstances prior to making any professional, legal, medical and financial, or tax-related decisions.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Recent Posts

0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x