Golf is one of the most common sports played across the globe, and there are lots of injuries that occur as a result of the sport. Here are some of the injuries you’re most likely to see if you’re a golfer, how they’re treated, and how to avoid them.
Because of the type of repetitive movement utilized in a golf swing, certain types of musculoskeletal injuries are especially common. These injuries happen as a result of overuse or poor form. Here are some of the most commonly seen golf injuries along with their symptoms:
- Back pain: a dull pain in your back, difficulty moving, lack of mobility in your lower back, difficulty finding a comfortable spot when sitting or lying down.
- Rotator cuff injury: pain when you raise or lower your arm, hearing a clicking sound when you raise your arm, stiffness, pain, and swelling located in the front of your shoulder or side of your arm, not being able to reach behind your back or a noticeable loss of strength and flexibility in the affected arm
- Tennis elbow: tenderness and pain that starts in your elbow and runs down the forearm – this can go as far as your middle and ring fingers – or a feeling of soreness or tightness in your forearm
- Golf elbow: pain or tenderness in your elbow, stiffness in your elbow, weakness in your hands or wrist, and numbness or tingling in your fingers
- Knee pain: swelling, stiffness, instability, inability to fully straighten the knee, or popping or crunching
- Tendinitis in the wrists: swelling, warmth and redness around the wrist and a grinding sensation when you move the tendons
All of these injuries are treatable and patients often have good results with treatment. Leaving them untreated, however, can result in permanent injury, which is why it’s important to see your doctor as soon as you think something might be wrong.
Each of these injuries will be treated differently based on how severe they are and what your current health status is at the time of your diagnosis. In many cases, an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication, rest, and ice or heat will serve as your wellness plan if you haven’t let the injury progress too far.
For some injuries, your doctor might recommend you wear a brace. In very rare, severe cases and almost always as a last resort, surgery may be recommended.
Prevention Is Key
As with most injuries, it best to try to prevent them from happening. With a sport like golf, where it is known that the cause of injuries tends to be improper form or overuse, prevention is easy. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons recommends a few preventive actions be taken to keep the golf injuries at bay:
- Train with someone who knows what they’re doing. A properly executed swing means less injury over time, and the best way to make sure your form is good is to train with an expert.
- Avoid the golf cart if you can. Walking strengthens your muscles.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Stretch and exercise regularly.
- Talk with your doctor before starting any new activity.
Dr. Shah is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon with Kelsey-Seybold specializing in shoulder and knee injuries. He specializes in Sports Medicine, advanced arthroscopic surgery, cartilage repair, and shoulder reconstruction, including shoulder arthroscopy, and shoulder replacements. Dr. Shah completed fellowships in Sports Medicine/arthroscopic surgery and shoulder reconstruction. Through education and teamwork, he forms a partnership with you to manage and treat your condition.