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Common Golf Injuries and How to Avoid Them

Golf is a popular sport played by people of all ages. It is important to use the right technique to avoid pain and injury. To ensure a proper swing, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and rotated slightly outward with knees slightly bent. Avoid hunching over the ball as this can cause neck and back pain. The core is the main foundation of stability and helps you maintain control through the swing as well as prevent injury.

“Low flexibility is a major risk factor for golfers. Having a poor range of motion greatly increases the stress on the joints and muscles involved in the swing, leading to a higher risk of injury. Adequate flexibility improves a golfer’s consistency and power.” says Dr. Robert Waskowitz, orthopedic sports medicine specialist.

Common Golf Injuries and Treatment

If treated early, most common golf injuries can be healed quickly without long-lasting effects.

  • Shoulder and Rotator Cuff Tendinitis Impingement is inflammation of the tissues connecting muscles and bones in the shoulder. This can cause a dull ache and stiffness around the shoulder joint, which worsens when you hold or lift objects and can lead to tissue tearing.
    • Treatment usually consists of rest, splinting, and ice. If this does not help, non-steroid anti-inflammatories are the next step.
  • Elbow Medial and Lateral Tendonitis. Lateral tendonitis is inflammation of the tendons connecting the forearm muscles on the outside of the elbow. Medial tendonitis, also known as “Golfer’s Elbow,” is inflammation of the tendons connecting the forearm muscles to the inside of the bone at your elbow. Both of these conditions usually result from overuse with symptoms being pain or burning on the outside of your elbow and weaker grip strength.
    • Treatment: rest, ice, elbow brace, and gentle stretching of the area.
  • Hip Bursitis is a common type of chronic hip pain affecting the outside part of the upper leg. Pain in the area tends to worsen when standing, walking or running.
    • Treatment includes icing the area, anti-inflammatory medications, and physical therapy.
  • Achilles Ankle Tendonitis is an injury of the Achilles tendon connecting the calf muscle to the heel bone. The most common symptom is heel pain and tenderness as a result of overuse without proper conditioning.
    • Treatment: rest, ice, and pain medication.
  • Foot Plantar Fasciitis. This is one of the most common heel injuries, involving inflammation of the tendons that run across the bottom of each foot. It can cause stabbing pain in the heel and leads to tearing of the tendon if not treated correctly.
    • Treatment of the injury includes rest, ice, stretching and massaging of the area, and sock splints.

Golf injuries occur from overload, overuse, and repetitive micro trauma to joints common in the swing pattern. Each one of these injuries is its own separate entity, but it is a combination of many that alter the mechanical aspects of the swing pattern that can lead to progressive or persistent compromise. 

Avoiding Major Injury

Our sports medicine doctors at OAH recommend keeping a regular exercise routine to build strength and mobility which reduces the risk of any injury. If you start to feel pain, immediately stop and rest until the pain is gone. Some of the best practices for avoiding sports injuries include:

  • Warm-up before use
  • Stretching
  • Cardio
  • Strength training
  • Eat nutritious foods to maintain strength
  • Ice any painful areas
  • Wear a brace to reduce hand or wrist pain and swelling

The key is to condition your body and build strength slowly to avoid injury.