At 50, Lehman Back in the Game with the Help of Prolotherapy
Alan L. Hammond GolfersMD News
Mar 23, 2009

Although his Sunday round at the Transitions Championship in Tampa wasn’t his best, Tom Lehman should be pleased with his overall play. The Major champion and former Ryder Cup Captain held the 54-hole lead before a four-over-par Sunday round took him out of contention, but still gave him a top-10 finish. It may prove to be a turning point for Lehman, who turned 50-years-old this month, in what is rumored to be his final season on the PGA Tour and one that could cap a great career with a win at the PGA Championship in his hometown at Hazeltine National in Minnesota.

It looked as if he may not return to his old form when he began experiencing tendinitis last season. “Well, I'm not sure if you ever had tendinitis. It's a pain in the rear. Just couldn't shake it,” said Lehman. “So from The Barclays in August until really the middle of the December, I couldn't really play.”

Tendinitis is an overuse injury described as pain and swelling from microtears in the connective tissue in or around the tendon. Symptoms of this tendinitis and tendon injury can include loss of strength or movement in the affected arm. Unfortunately for Lehman, his case of tendinitis appears to have been severe. Says Lehman, “Tried this and tried that and couldn't get it fixed, and finally did this thing called prolotherapy, which worked”

Past medical treatments for such injuries may have required surgery and a lengthy recovery. A relatively new treatment for this type of injury, prolotherapy, also called non-surgical ligament reconstruction, is non-invasive.

In a nutshell, Lehman likely underwent prolotherapy treatment where doctors would have injected dextrose, a sugar-water substance, into his right elbow, which would have induced the body's natural inflammation response. By producing this response, your body will heal the area itself, therefore reducing pain. Proof that the treatment works abounds, and Lehman adds to that number, but physicians at the Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center are presently conducting studies that will clearly define its benefits.

Patients respond to prolotherapy differently, much as with any form of medical treatment, but most only need a few treatments. “So I had a series of treatment in November, December and started practicing towards the end of December and getting ready for the season,” says Lehman.

For Lehman, the prolotherapy treatment appears to have worked beautifully. During his recovery and the early part of this season his swing was out of sync. His performance at the Transitions is proof that his elbow and his golf swing have healed.

Source: Media Relations, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center;