Dystonic Golfer's cramp: Pilot study of propranolol and looking at the hole

Charles H. Adler, Nan Zhang, Debra Crews, Troy McDaniel, Jennifer Tucker, Christian Marquardt, John N. Caviness

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Introduction: There is limited data in the scientific literature using quantitative methods to assess response of golfer's cramp to intervention. The objective of this pilot study was to use quantitative measures to study the effect of propranolol and looking at the hole when putting. Methods: 14 golfers completed 50 10’ putts (10 each x 5 conditions): two-handed looking at the ball, right hand only looking at the ball, two-handed looking at the hole, then following a single 10 mg oral dose of propranolol two-handed and right hand only putts looking at the ball. Quantitative measurements of putter movement and surface EMG to assess wrist muscle co-contraction were measured. Results: Based on video review of the putting, five golfers with dystonic golfer's cramp and nine with non-dystonic yips were compared. Those with dystonic golfer's cramp had more putts with the yips and yips with co-contraction when two-handed putting looking at the ball, no increase when putting right hand only, less smoothness of putter movement, and all of these improved following propranolol and when looking at the hole. The non-dystonic group had an increase in yipped putts and yipped putts with co-contraction putting right hand only and no improvement with either intervention. Conclusion: Yipped putts with co-contraction, right hand only putting, and smoothness of putter movement differed between dystonic golfer's cramp and non-dystonic yips. Propranolol and looking at the hole only improved dystonic golfer's cramp putting. This is the first pilot study of oral medication treatment for this task-specific dystonia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)108-112
Number of pages5
JournalParkinsonism and Related Disorders
StatePublished - Nov 2020


  • Co-contraction
  • Dystonia
  • Golfer's cramp
  • Propranolol
  • Yips

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Clinical Neurology


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