Luckily, the Port St. Lucie area provides weather that makes every day a golf day! However, fun can quickly turn to pain in the middle of your swing if you’re not careful. Before your next trip to the green, it’s important to know of some of the common orthopaedic injuries experienced by golfers and how you can prevent them.
The most common areas of concern for golfers includes the back, elbows, knees, shoulders, and wrists.
The powerful rotation and extension motion of a golf swing can often result in lower back problems. It is suggested that increasing the range of motion in the lumbar spine extension and rotation of the lead hip may decrease back pain occurrences. Also, improper bag handling can result in back pain. Bag stands can be used to avoid bending over, and dual-strapped bags evenly distribute weight to prevent excessive strain on one shoulder.
Tip: A thorough warm-up before starting a round, including stretching and easy swings, is critical for the muscles to get ready for the game. Be sure to use bag stands and golf carts whenever possible.
The second most common injury in golfers is typically the elbow. Poor swing mechanics and overuse lead to many elbow injuries, including medial epicondylitis (golfer’s elbow) and lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow). Golfer’s elbow includes inflammation, soreness or pain on the inside of the upper arm near the elbow, while tennis elbow occurs on the outside of the upper arm. Over-swinging, hitting shots “fat” (hitting the ground), and gripping your clubs incorrectly can cause damage to muscles and tendons as well.
Tip: A pre-round stretching of the upper extremity and good strengthening programs have been shown to decrease these injuries in golfers.
Wear golf shoes with short cleats. Long cleats may anchor your feet while you swing and strain your knees. The golf swing itself exerts great pressure on the knees. If you are experiencing knee pain or recovering from a knee surgery, you should wait until you are completely healed before returning to the green.
Tip: Wear golf shoes with short cleats. Long cleats may anchor your feet while you swing and strain your knees.
The golf swing causes chronic wear and tear injuries to the muscles holding the shoulder inside its socket. Rotator cuff tendinitis is the most common shoulder injury in golfers and results in painful inflammation.
Tip: Therapy exercises, altering swing mechanics, and strengthening the upper-arm and shoulder muscles can prevent future injury.
Most wrist injuries are caused by overuse of the wrist flexor and extensor tendons. Injuries can range from some minor inflammation to a fracture of the hook of the hamate, one of the small bones of the wrist.
Tip: Squeeze a tennis ball to strengthen hand, wrists, forearms and shoulder muscles several times a day.
Before Each Round of Golf
There are a few things you should remember to do before heading out to your local country club. By making sure you are following through with the below items, you may greatly reduce your risk for golf-related injuries.
- Stretch before every round – and even every hole if it’s taking awhile to make it through the course
- Do light, warm-up swings before heading to the driving range
- Use proper swing mechanics
- Use a bag with dual straps to balance weight
- Use a bag stand to avoid bending over
- Practice strengthening exercises when you’re away from the course
- Wear the right gear