As a result of Tiger Woods’ win at the 2018 Players Championship, “Tiger Hysteria” abounds in the golf world again.
My interest in this story is not so much about his remarkable comeback, but more about me being able to continue the saga of The Wiggle in His Walk.
As a practicing chiropractor I have always been fascinated by walking or gait patterns, particularly one that I have “dubbed” the wiggle in your walk. Being a total sports fan, I am constantly watching the walking patterns of athletes on television. (basketball players, tennis players, hockey players and especially golfers)
In the early 2000’s Tiger was at the top of his game, winning lots and garnishing loads of attention. Some of you may recall that around this time Tiger began a vigorous workout routine and the results were visibly obvious…..bigger, stronger.
In the summer of 2007, Tiger’s body began to break down.
July 23, 2007 … ruptured left ACL… decided against surgery April 15, 2008 … arthroscopic surgery on left knee to clean up cartilage damage June 24, 2008 … repair of left ACL… double stress fracture of left tibia December 2008 … torn left achilles April 26, 2011 … strained left ACL and achilles March 2012 … reinjured left achilles
Throughout these years Tiger was also battling lower back problems culminating in:
First spinal surgery….. April 2014
It was during this time frame that I was preparing and writing my book “The Wiggle In Your Walk Must Go … it may be hurting your back” I was totally shocked when I heard the news that he had undergone spinal surgery. In fact I wrote 2 blog posts sharing my thoughts.
I wasn’t concerned about his choosing to have surgery. It sounds like the herniated disc needed to be repaired. I was concerned that what caused the disc to deteriorate wasn’t being talked about or dealt with. I have watched Tiger since he came on the tour. Those who know me will tell you that I predicted back trouble in the future for Tiger. Why?
Well…. it’s not directly because of his hard swing as one might suspect . If you take a close look at Tiger’s walking pattern you will notice a very distinct rolling around the hips (the wiggle in his walk). This is caused by pelvic sacroiliac joints that are not functioning properly. He has lost the normal “flip” “flop” motion of a normal walking pattern. This wiggle not only changes his gait but puts great added stress on his lower back which can lead to premature degeneration of lower back discs. Add to this scenario powerful gluteal and upper leg muscles and you have a disaster waiting to happen.
Watch this video and you will see what I mean.
These two videos compare Tiger Woods walking in the year 2000 (top) to his gait pattern in 2015 (bottom) after he has had major low back and knee surgeries.
Tiger’s gait in 2000 was very efficient and fully functional with an up and forward and down and back pelvic movement.
The video on the bottom, taken before his first surgery, demonstrates how Tiger had lost the efficient motion of elevation in his pelvis. He had substituted a more side to side pelvic pattern to propel himself forward as evident of the white line on the back of his shirt going from side to side. His arm swing had even changed from going forward and backward in the earlier video to swinging in front of his hips and going side to side like his pelvis.
Could this lack of efficient pelvic motion with gait be the reason for the demise in his back?????
As it turned out, more problems ensued:
Second surgery,,, But the first surgery wasn’t enough, and in Sept. 2015, Woods had to withdraw from the Wyndham Championship for a second microdiscectomy surgery to remove a disc fragment that caused another pinched nerve in his back. The minimally invasive procedure takes out the small part of the bone that broke off and caused pain.
Third surgery … Less than a month later, he had to undergo another procedure — and a third back surgery — to correct lingering pain from the microdiscectomy.
He intended to heal and make his big comeback then, but the pain persisted, and he spent all of 2016 withdrawing from various tournaments
Fourth Surgery … That continued through the start of 2017, until Woods announced in April that he had undergone a fourth back surgery “to alleviate ongoing pain in his back and leg,” his team said in a statement.
This surgery was far more specialized, an anterior lumbar interbody fusion, performed by Dr. Richard Guyer at the Texas Back Institute. Woods and his doctors decided it was necessary after other attempts at fixing his pain were largely unsuccessful.
“I could no longer live with the pain I had. We tried every possible non-surgical route, and nothing worked,” he wrote in a blog post in May 2017. “I had good days and bad days, but the pain was usually there, and I couldn’t do much. Even lying down hurt. I had nerve pain with anything I did and was at the end of my rope.”
And that brings us to 2018 and his return to the PGA tour and victory at the PGA Championship.All appears to be good in Tigerland ….or is it?
Take a close look at the video below and tell me what you see. Yep, the wiggle in Tiger’s walk is still there.
As much as I love Tiger, my prediction for his future is ….more problems.