Golf may not be known for being the fastest or most dangerous sport, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get injured playing it. When you’re on the course, your main concern in avoiding injuries may be to watch out for wayward drives, but in practical terms, most golf injuries tend to develop over time. Here, we’re going to look at some of the most common golf injuries, and what you can do about them.
Tennis Or Golfer’s Elbow
Most people will have heard of tennis elbow, a form of tendinopathy that affects the outer tendon of the elbow, causing it to become inflamed. Golfer’s elbow is an almost identical condition, with the only difference being that it affects the elbow’s medial tendon. Despite the names, both conditions can affect golf players however can also occur due to sudden trauma, repetitive wrist movement in sport or due to posture while working on a computer or weight training.
Both tennis and golfers elbow are forms of overuse injuries, which means they occur gradually over time as a result of excessive or improper use. In golf, the most common precursor to these conditions is a bad swing technique, particularly releasing the hands too early and trying to “scoop” the ball as you swing. Therefore, the only way to ensure you avoid these conditions is to review your technique, and ensure you are holding the correct form the entire way through. A physiotherapist will be able to treat your pain, review your technique, advise on posture, strength and conditioning and prevention advice.
Tendinitis/Tendinopathy In The Wrist
Another form of tendinitis that commonly affects golfers is tendinitis of the wrist. This is another overuse injury, and tends to arise from an improper swing technique as well. Ideally, the wrist-cock a golfer has at the top of their swing should be maintained until the moment of impact. An early release puts more pressure on the wrist, which gradually irritates it and leads to tendinitis.
Tendinitis can be alleviated using the R.I.C.E. technique (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation), but the only effective way to combat and avoid this injury in the long-run is to ensure you are swinging properly, review biomechanics and strength conditioning. You should also avoid practicing for more than 6 hours a week, as the prevalence of overuse injuries spikes after this point.
Rotator Cuff Injuries
The rotator cuffs are a group of four muscles in each shoulder, responsible for stabilising the joint. Unsurprisingly, they play quite a large role in your swing, and so are vulnerable to a number of different issues, such as overuse, swelling, inflammation, impingement and even tearing.
Again, using the correct form is crucial in preventing such injuries, but strength training for the shoulders and back can also help. If you are experiencing some pain, apply the R.I.C.E. technique mentioned above and make an appointment to see your Physiotherapist.
When it comes to back pain in golfers, improper form is once again the main suspect. However, it is possible that a golfer with good form could still develop back pain. The likelihood of this happening can be reduced by doing stretches before playing, or by taking up an additional workout such as yoga/Pilates. There is also a possibility that the back pain could be caused by carrying a bag of clubs that is too heavy, or carrying the bag incorrectly, so be cautious of that as well.
In terms of treating back pain, most pain simply requires rest and alternating hot/cold packs. Anything more serious than discomfort may require a visit to the doctor or your Physiotherapist to ensure there are no serious underlying issues.