Common Golf Injuries
All sports tend to have injuries that are more likely to occur; the problem becomes learning what is typical and how you can avoid these common golf injuries in order to really ensure that you are as healthy and safe as possible out on the golf course.
Prevention is better than cure as they say so one of the best things you can do for your body is to make sure that you are in good physical condition before you play. If you take the time to ensure that you are in good physical shape you will greatly reduce the number of golf-related injuries that you are prone to have.
Many of these problems boil down to the repetitive nature of the golf swing. It’s not just your golf game that can lead to these common golf injuries but many jobs involve repetitive movements too so it may not all be down to playing golf!
The Most Common Golfing Injuries
As you can imagine, swinging golf clubs can lead to back injuries. Taking the time to do proper conditioning of your back muscles can help to avoid these problems along with warming up beforehand to ensure they are ready to go. If you are prone to back issues it is usually best to keep warm too. Don’t go stripping down to your polo shirt in 50°F! Spending long hours bent over in your posture when practicing can have a particularly negative effect. I always found long putting sessions would leave me with an aching back.
It is also important to ensure that you get the rest that you need following a game of golf to ensure that your back has the time to recover. Even if you are fit and warmed up you can still injure yourself through overuse.
Once the damage is done then you will have to resort to rest, muscle gels and ice packs.
Neck problems can be particularly common among new golfers. Making sure to stretch the neck muscles beforehand can help avoid problems later. If you are still relatively new to golf then avoid prolonged practice sessions that will put your neck under extra pressure.
Another common golfer’s injury is tennis elbow or in golf – golfer’s elbow. It is a form of tendinitis (tendonitis) where the tendons connected to the elbow become inflamed due to overuse or overstretching.
This often occurs with players who start playing a lot suddenly. It may also occur when the ground is especially hard during a dry summer or if you spend lots of time hitting off mats. There is one difference between them though. Tennis elbow impacts the outside of the elbow, while golfer’s elbow impacts the inner part of the arm. Ironically golfers are more likely to suffer from tennis elbow despite the name.
I’ve suffered both during my golfing career which I also attribute to working at a computer keyboard too. In fact, I have taken as long as a month off from playing golf (and keyboard) in an effort to ease the pain.
Having a poor swing technique or changing your technique can lead to problems with your elbow. I know that strengthening my grip in an effort to compress the ball better led directly to my most recent bout of tendonitis.
Treatment usually involves anti-inflammatories and resting the affected joint.
There are a number of exercises you can try to help alleviate the problem.
As you might expect shoulder injuries also top the list of major problems for golfers. You can just imagine the pressure that is put on your shoulders as you swing the clubs. Ideally, you want to warm up all your muscle groups before playing.
To avoid this you need to ensure that you are warming up your shoulder muscles as much as possible before a game and work hard to ensure that you are taking proper care of your body. A body that is tired is also a prime candidate for an injury. I know I love going out for a game on a summer’s evening after work but sometimes I wonder whether that has led to some of my own personal injury issues.
Specifically, issues with your rotator cuff can occur when golfing. This can occur because of poor swing mechanics or overuse. It may also be down to a more specific issue such as hitting tree roots or some other unexpected hard substance.
You can also develop tendinitis in your shoulders.
Treatment would be similar to elbow issues with the use of anti-inflammatories and rest. Sometimes surgery might be required.
Fingers and hands can both become victims of tendinitis when you play or practice too much. You could even break bones if you strike something solid with sufficient force.
Try to avoid long practice sessions, particularly from artificial mats if you want to avoid these types of injuries.
Wrist injuries can occur for similar reasons. Overuse can lead to our old friend tendinitis. It is possible to reduce the possibility of issues by using exercises to strengthen the muscles and tendons.
Hip problems can be common among golfers. many leading professionals have ended up with hip replacement surgery due to the wear and tear of all the walking and practice over many, many years. The hips undergo a lot of rotational stress during your golf swing and problems may also lead to lower back pain.
Prevention by warming up the muscles and trying to improve your level of conditioning is useful.
Knee pain can be caused by golf. A lot of strain can be placed on your knees while you swing the golf club. You could end up with damaged ligaments or cartilage.
Foot and ankle injuries are highly likely due to the fact you will be walking around 5 miles across uneven terrain. Add in the stresses and strains of the golf swing as well and it’s no surprise you can pick up some painful issues.
It’s quite possible to pick up a nasty sprain if you’re not watching where you’re walking and trip on a rabbit hole. You could also have problems with plantar fasciitis which is a tightening of the Achilles tendon. You can treat this with stretching exercises and also by rolling your fort on a hard ball such as a golf ball.
Struck by a ball or club. It’s certainly not out of the question to get hit by a ball or club. New golfers are more likely to get hit since they are less used to being out with other golfers.
When it’s someone else’s turn to play make sure you are standing far enough away that you can’t be hit by their club. You should also learn where to stand in relation to the ball to avoid being hit by someone in your group. Don’t wander up the fairway in front of other players for example. Don’t assume because someone is a good golfer they will always hit it straight!
If you hear a shout of fore then cover your head!
Prince William, as he was at the time, got whacked on the head by a golf club when he was younger if I remember correctly. Many people get hit by golf balls every year. Sometimes with serious consequences such as losing an eye or even dying! I’ve been hit a couple of times but fortunately neither were in dangerous areas and the ball had bounced first which meant it was travelling a bit slower too!
If you’re not careful with your footwear then you might end up with Morton’s neuroma which is pretty painful I can tell you. Make sure to have shoes that are sufficiently wide for your feet. Many modern golf shoes have very pointy toe boxes and really aren’t suitable.
The final one is undoubtedly the easiest to prevent. Sunburn can be pretty painful but also has the potential for long-term serious issues. If you’re spending four to five hours outside then you really need to take care of your skin by applying sunblock to exposed areas and wearing appropriate clothing and most likely a sun hat of some description.
Common Golf Injuries: Conclusion
if you want to avoid visits to your doctor or worse to a specialist then it’s advisable to try and improve your physical fitness before heading to the links.
Avoiding injuries is much better than treating them. Plus you don’t want to take time away from golf?
Sports medicine is a much better-understood science these days and you should take heed of their advice otherwise you’ll find yourself on a permanent diet of anti-inflammatories!