Nav: Home

Mayo Clinic researchers uncover methods to quantify the yips and golfer's cramp

July 19, 2018

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Almost every golfer knows the feeling. Minutes after a picture-perfect drive down the fairway, a cascade of inexplicable missed putts leads to a disappointing triple bogey.

Golfers' lapses in play sometimes are blamed on a mysterious twitching condition called "the yips." But are yips physical or psychological? In a new Mayo Clinic study, published this month in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, researchers combined multiple methods to quantify golfers' yips and identify those with a neurological cause.

"These findings are important because they could offer athletes with a type of yips called 'dystonia,' or 'golfer's cramp,' improved treatment options," says Charles Adler, M.D., Ph.D., a Mayo Clinic neurologist and the study's lead author. "Previously, there was no way to identify those with golfer's cramp using quantitative methods."

The yips is a disorder in which golfers complain of an involuntary movement -- a twitch, a jerk, a flinch -- at the time they putt or even when they chip. This interferes with their ability to perform that activity.

The study examined 27 golfers who all appeared to have the yips before the study. Researchers from Mayo Clinic and Arizona State University videotaped subjects putting 10 times with both hands and 10 putts with the right hand only, with each attempt 10 feet away from the hole. They collected data on wrist and arm movements, putter movements, and whether there was co-contracting muscle activation in the forearm muscles.

When reviewing video of the putts, researchers noted that five golfers had what appeared to be a neurologic cause for their golfer's cramp. These five golfers had greater acceleration of wrist and arm movement, as well as much more variability in wrist acceleration and rotation.

Nine of the other golfers the researchers examined also had the yips, but their conditions did not appear to be neurologic in nature (not dystonic). The remaining 13 golfers did not experience any yips during their putts. The golfers with a neurologic cause had more putts with the yips and co-contraction with two hands. They also had no change with the right hand only. In contrast, the other golfers had much fewer putts with the yips and co-contraction with two hands. This was followed by a marked increase in the yips and co-contractions when putting right hand only.

"More research in this arena is needed, but we are encouraged by our findings," Dr. Adler says. "Hopefully, specific treatment options will emerge that can help people overcome the yips in golf and other activities."
-end-
About Mayo Clinic

Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit organization committed to clinical practice, education and research, providing expert, comprehensive care to everyone who needs healing. Learn more about Mayo Clinic. Visit the Mayo Clinic News Network.

Mayo Clinic

Related Mayo Clinic Articles:

Mayo Clinic researchers demonstrate value of second opinions
Many patients come to Mayo Clinic for a second opinion or diagnosis confirmation before treatment for a complex condition.
Mayo Clinic researchers clarify chemo resistance, and perhaps a new therapy
Mayo Clinic scientists have identified a specific protein implicated in drug resistance, as well as a possible therapeutic tool.
Mayo Clinic researchers identify therapy
Mayo Clinic researchers have found that an experimental drug, LCL161, stimulates the immune system, leading to tumor shrinkage in patients affected by multiple myeloma.
Mayo Clinic researchers uncover new agents
Mayo Clinic researchers have uncovered three new agents to add to the emerging repertoire of drugs that aim to delay the onset of aging by targeting senescent cells -- cells that contribute to frailty and other age-related conditions.
Mayo Clinic: Reversing physician burnout, using nine strategies to promote well-being
Researchers at Mayo Clinic have been documenting the rise and costs of physician burnout for more than a decade.
Mayo Clinic and Massachusetts Institute of Technology receive grant
Mayo Clinic and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have been awarded a five-year, $9.7 million grant from the National Cancer Institute to support a Physical Sciences-Oncology Center (PS-OC).
Mayo Clinic and ASU to form collaborative research teams
Mayo Clinic and Arizona State University's research leadership announce the launch of a new grant program that will team up research scientists and clinicians from both institutions to develop transformative solutions for patients.
Mayo Clinic studying genomics of antiplatelet heart medication
TAILOR-PCI, which began in 2013 with study teams at 15 hospitals in the US, Canada and South Korea and plans to enroll 5,270 patients, just received an additional $7 million from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health, to complete the study.
Mayo Clinic introduces precision medicine in psychiatry
Mayo Clinic is highlighting the potential merits of using precision medicine in prescribing antidepressants.
Mayo clinic first to implant device to solve fecal incontinence
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A clinical team on Mayo Clinic's Florida campus is the first to offer four patients with long-term fecal incontinence a new and potentially long-lasting treatment -- a small band of interlinked magnetic titanium beads on a titanium string that successfully mimics the function of the anal sphincter.

Related Mayo Clinic Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Anthropomorphic
Do animals grieve? Do they have language or consciousness? For a long time, scientists resisted the urge to look for human qualities in animals. This hour, TED speakers explore how that is changing. Guests include biological anthropologist Barbara King, dolphin researcher Denise Herzing, primatologist Frans de Waal, and ecologist Carl Safina.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#532 A Class Conversation
This week we take a look at the sociology of class. What factors create and impact class? How do we try and study it? How does class play out differently in different countries like the US and the UK? How does it impact the political system? We talk with Daniel Laurison, Assistant Professor of Sociology at Swarthmore College and coauthor of the book "The Class Ceiling: Why it Pays to be Privileged", about class and its impacts on people and our systems.