Congratulations to Michelle Wie on winning the 2014 U.S. Women’s Open at Pinehurst No. 2! If you watched any of the tournament you undoubtedly saw the tape that Michelle had on her left leg throughout the week. Was she using this to ease some aches and pains that result from the repetitive motion of the golf swing? It’s very likely. The leg contains some of the largest muscles in the body and thus plays a big role in the golf swing. Michelle had tape positioned throughout her entire leg, including her achilles tendon, calf, knee, and quadricep. We believe there are two primary reasons she would wear this while playing golf – added support and pain relief. Whether she incurred an injury or simply wanted added support throughout her golf swing, Michelle was able to do so through strategic placement of the tape.
Without having a chance to speak with her, it’s hard to say what each piece of tape is intended to do; however, it is very likely that the tape was used to both relieve pain and add extra support. I can be sure of one thing – the tape certainly didn’t hurt her game this week! As an avid golfer, I have experienced some of these pains first hand and suffered from tendonitis in my wrists during my competitive playing days. Much like Michelle does on her leg, I ended up positioning tape on my left wrist, as instructed by a physical therapist. While it didn’t completely eliminate all of the discomfort I felt, it certainly helped me focus more on golf and less on the pain. Perhaps it was the placebo effect in action, but golf is after all as much a game of the mind as it is of the body so I’ll take the help where I can get it. Athletes using tape when they engage in sports is nothing new – we see it used by football players, basketball players, tennis players, and golfers alike. I will even occasionally tape my wrists when I lift weights so I don’t put too much pressure on them while lifting those 5lb dumbbells. The use of this tape ties back to kinesiology, which simply is the scientific study of human movement that is applied in many different ways, most notably for rehabilitation, physical therapy, and sport/exercise. For golfers specifically, we have seen both professional and amature golfers use tape (and often times different braces) on their wrists and elbows to prevent extra stress from hitting these areas of the body. Be sure to speak with your doctor before making a decision to use tape or other devices to treat any aches and pains you experience during your daily activities.