Top 10 Golf Injuries and How To Avoid Them
Top 10 Golf Injuries and How to Avoid and Treat Them
When you think of sports injuries, what immediately comes to mind? Football? Hockey? CrossFit? What about golf?
While it’s a leisure sport, golfers are at risk for injury just like any other sport. Listing them from least to most severe, let’s take a look at the top 10 golf injuries, including golfer’s elbow. We’ll also discuss how to avoid and treat golf injuries.
1. Hand and Finger Blisters
Blisters are those tiny bumps that form on parts of your hands and fingers where there is excessive rubbing from the golf club. While blisters aren’t an injury in the way that a muscle tear or bone break is an injury, this can certainly hinder your golfing performance.
How to Prevent Blisters: The best way to avoid blisters forming on your hands and fingers is to use high-quality golfing gloves. Don’t try to save a few dollars on a lesser-known brand. Pay a bit more to ensure better padding and comfort.
If you have parts of your hands and fingers that are especially sensitive, consider wrapping up those parts with medical tape, the same thing that boxers use on their knuckles.
2. Wrist Soreness or Pain
Some amount of wrist soreness is going to be expected for beginning golfers, but if you’ve been doing it for a while and you have a great deal of wrist soreness, this could be a precursor to something more serious. Left untreated, it can result in pain or strain, something we’ll discuss more below.
As we mentioned, soreness from using untrained muscles is normal. If your soreness lasts for more than 72 hours, we highly recommend that you stop golfing until it goes away completely.
How to Prevent Wrist Soreness and Pain: Stretching and doing proper wrist warm-up exercises is the key to preventing wrist soreness. The following are all great ways to prepare your wrists for an upcoming practice or game:
· Wrist rolls
· Gentle wrist bending
· Wrist shakes
3. Shoulder Soreness or Pain
As we work our way up the arm, the next most common, but not severe form of golfing injury is soreness and pain in the shoulder. Practicing your swing, especially as a beginner, can engage muscles that you rarely use, especially for impact-based movements such as hitting a golf ball.
The rear deltoids (back of the shoulder), lateral deltoids, (side of the shoulder), and front deltoids (front of the shoulder), trapezius (back of the shoulders) are all involved in a golf swing and repetitive movements can lead to soreness and eventual pain, if left unchecked.
How to Prevent Shoulder Soreness and Pain: Just like with the wrist, you want to focus on warming up and stretching the entire shoulder muscles. This is going to include performing the following:
· Arm circles
· Front-to-back straight arm raises
· Across-the-body shoulder stretches
4. Rotator Cuff Soreness or Pain
Continuing with this idea of a shoulder injury, the rotator cuff is especially susceptible to strains and tears from sports including golf.
The rotator cuff is a collection of tendons that surround the shoulder, keeping the upper arm bone in place yet flexible and giving it the ability to move through a full range of motion. Whether through direct impact, such as striking a tree root with your club, or repetitive movements, the rotator cuff can become weaker and more prone to straining or tearing over time. Before you get to the point of a strain, you’ll first experience soreness and pain.
How to Prevent Rotator Cuff Soreness and Pain: Again, warming up and stretching is going to be key here. Aside from the warming up exercises and stretches mentioned above, we specifically recommend the doorway stretch.
Something else you can do is strengthen your rotator cuff and shoulders with a few resistance training exercises such as the following:
· Side-lying external dumbbell rotation
· Upright rows
· Lateral dumbbell raises
· Reverse flies
5. Knee Soreness or Pain
If you have any postural distortion patterns in the lower body such as knock knees or a weak TFL band (connective tissue that runs along your legs), you may be at higher risk for knee soreness and pain. Weak knees don’t hold up well during a golf swing when the hips are twisting and turning the body.
How to Prevent Knee Soreness and Pain: If you notice an ache after a swing, we recommend strengthening your knees with squats, Romanian deadlifts, and donkey kicks. You can also wear a knee sleeve to alleviate the soreness and swelling.
6. Lower Back Soreness or Pain
How to Prevent Lower Back Soreness and Pain: Get into the habit of stretching your entire core (abdominals, obliques, back, and glutes) before practice or a game. The focus should be on the wrist and shoulders, but your core also plays an important role. Try the following stretches and strengthening exercises for your lower back:
· Side-to-side twists
7. Wrist Strain
The wrist is essential in the game of golf, and it’s also at a high risk of getting injured. If your wrist soreness and pain continue to get worse, you may experience a wrist strain soon. Stop playing golf, focus on recovery, and visit your chiropractor or physical therapist.
How to Prevent Wrist Strain: Stretch the wrist and forearms to alleviate tightness and muscle adhesions. Strengthening the wrist with the following exercises can help increase endurance and lower risk of injury:
· Wrist curls
· Reverse barbell curls
· Farmer’s walk
8. Golfer’s Elbow
Elbow tendonitis is considered the most common moderately severe golf injury. More commonly called golfer’s elbow, this injury involves soreness, inflammation, swelling, and pain right at the connective tissue surrounding the elbow. This is caused by repetitive impact-based movements such as hitting a golf ball.
How to Prevent Golfer’s Elbow: Outside of warming up and stretching the surrounding muscles (forearms, biceps, and shoulders), you should get into the habit of applying ice after practice or a game. You can also wear a compression armband during and after play, which may alleviate the inflammation.
9. Shoulder Rotator Cuff Tear
As we discussed above, the rotator cuff holds your upper arm bone in place thanks to several thick tendons. The rotator cuff is at a higher risk of injury because it’s involved in all arm-based movements, including golf swings.
How to Prevent a Rotator Cuff Tear: Aside from staying consistent with your warming up and stretching of the entire shoulder, you’ll want to incorporate strengthening exercises into your normal workout routine. Here are several more exercises that you can use in combination with the exercises from above:
· Overhead Press
· Front Lateral Dumbbell Raise
· Dive Bomb Push-Ups
10. Golf Cart Fall
What seems like a moment out of a comedy movie is actually more common than you think. Falling out of a golf cart – even on the green – can result in a severe injury. If you happen to fall on your shoulder, you could strain or tear the rotator cuff. If you fall on your head, you risk a fracture or concussion.
How to Prevent a Golf Cart Fall: Be sure to strap in and wear your seat belt. It’s when we least expect danger that we tend to fall into it. Also, just like on the road, don’t drink and drive. Especially if you’re golfing on a hot and sunny day, adding alcohol into the equation increases your risk for careless injury.
Think You Suffered One of these Golf Injuries?
Has your wrist or shoulder remained sore for longer than a few days? Are you experiencing pain at the elbow during and after a game of golf? Ravenswood Chiropractic in Chicago specializes in treating golf injuries, especially golfer’s elbow. Give us a call today at 773-878-7330 to schedule a consultation. We’ll be happy to help you recover quickly and get you back to playing another round.