Most people don’t consider golf a high-intensity sport. It’s not everyday that you hear about a golfer getting injured. However, many injuries can be caused by playing golf, including injuries to the ankle, knee, elbow, spine, hip, and wrist. Golf injuries may not be the most common, but when they do happen, they can be very painful and if not treated, they can have long-term effects on your overall health.
Types Of Golf Injuries
Most golf injuries are due to repeating the same motions over and over again. These repeated motions put strain on the muscles, tendons, and joints that are used most. Over time, this can cause injury.
Tendonitis is one of the most common injury complains in golfers. This is when tendons in the hand and/or wrist become inflamed. Most of the time this injury is treated with ice, splinting, or anti-inflammatory medicine.
Another leading golf injury is golfer’s elbow. This is when the tendons that attach your forearm muscles to the inside of the bone at your elbow become inflamed. The overuse of these tendons causes pain in the elbow.
One of the best ways to avoid this injury is to strengthen your forearms and slow your golf swing. There are also exercises you can do during the off season to prevent this type of injury:
- Squeeze a tennis ball. This exercise is a simple way to strengthen the muscles in your forearm.
- Wrist curls. Lower a lightweight dumbbell to the tips of your fingers then curl it back to the palm of your hand, then curl it up to your wrist. Do this exercise ten times on each hand.
- Reverse wrist curls. Place your hands in front of you, palms facing down. With a lightweight dumbbell, lift the weight up and down with your wrist. Again, do this exercise ten times on each hand.
Lower Back Pain
The repeated motion of a golf swing can put pressure on the spine and muscles in the lower back. Also, poor flexibility or a poor swing can cause strains in the back that can lead to severe injuries.
Here are a few exercises to strengthen the muscles in your lower back:
- Rowing. Tie rubber tubing around something that is shoulder height. Stand with your arms straight in front of you and pull the tubing toward your chest and release slowly.
- Pull downs. With the same rubber tubing, kneel down and hold the tubing over your head. Pull the tubing down toward your chest, bending your elbows as you do so.
- Yoga. Yoga focuses on core strength which will help lessen the risk of injuring your lower back.
Most golf injuries are due to overuse and poor form. Here are some preventative measures you can take to avoid your risk of an injury.
Adjust Your Swing
- Use proper form. Think about your posture before you swing. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and evenly distribute your weight.
- Stay smooth. Make sure your force is smoothly transferred from your ankles all the way through your wrists. If you only depend on a certain muscle group for hitting power, you will be more likely to injure yourself.
- Don’t overswing. If you swing the club too hard or too far, you may stress your joints or strain a muscle.
Along with adjusting your swing, there are a few other ways to prevent an injury:
- Warm up. Just like any other sport, you should warm up before playing golf. Warm up with a brisk walk or by doing a set of jumping jacks. Also make sure to stretch your upper body.
- Start slowly. While you may think that constantly practicing your golf swing will improve your game, it may put too much strain on your muscles. Work up to your desired level of activity before you practice your swing for hours upon hours.
- Choose the right footwear. Make sure your golf shoes are comfortable and provide protection. Wear shoes with short cleats, long cleats dig into the grass and hold your feet down as you swing.
If golf is your passion and you plan on playing it for as long as possible, use these preventative tips to have an injury-free golfing career.
Trisha Banks is a blogger for Matthew Boes M.D. Orthopaedic Surgery in Raleigh, North Carolina. Trisha wants to start golfing and wants to learn how to avoid injury.