Just as it is in other sports, golf has a host of injuries that plague its players. Many of them are not serious injuries and only take a few weeks to heal. But others can be nasty, requiring surgery to completely heal. This is it is advisable that you have a sound healthcare plan that you can always tap into. This way, you wouldn’t have to break the bank to get back on your feet.
Since this article wants to help you prevent injury, it only makes sense that you get to know all about some of these common golf injuries so you would know how to avoid them with or without help of the training aids.
1. Foot and Ankle Injuries
These injuries are not only common among golfers, many athletes from various sports have had to deal with them. The golf swing involves every part of the body, including the feet. The feet are where the swinger generates power for the swing.
And in that process, the movement of each foot differs from the other. Although some injuries occur in the initial movements of a swing, most injuries occur during the follow-through. They may have been caused by overbalancing on one foot or losing a footing. Improper swing techniques also increase the chances of foot and ankle injuries among golfers.
An ankle sprain is one of the most common ankle injuries. Your ankle sprains when your foot turns so far inwards that the ligaments on the outside of your ankle overstretches or tears. The reason ankle sprains are common among athletes is that those ligaments are not strong, and they don’t like a lot of stress. Tendinitis in the foot bones and ankle, and blisters and inflammation are other common injuries in this category.
The best way to prevent foot and ankle injuries is to make sure you master the perfect swing technique. Wearing shoes that are a perfect fit for your feet also reduces the chances of sustaining an injury.
2. Hand and Finger Injuries
Hand injuries are also common among golfers. It occurs from repetitive motions from swings. Some common conditions in this category are single server trauma and repetitive blunt trauma. These two alone place golfers are at the risk of many injuries, including deformed or even broken bones, tendinitis, hypothenar hammer syndrome (HHS), and many more.
To prevent hand and finger injuries, learn how to grip the club properly. You should also stay away from extended sessions of ball bashing.
3. Rotator Cuff Injury
Rotator cuff injuries are common among golfers in the middle ages and older. Senior golfers over the age of 50 are more prone to this injury. Your rotator cuff muscles are always working throughout the swing.
So, when you swing repeatedly for an extended period or over many days without giving your shoulders much time to rest, rotator cuff injuries might just be at your door. When this injury gets really bad, the golfer would not even be able to lift their shoulder.
You may have partial rotator cuff tears and feel you can play through it. This is going to be a painful experience. Apart from the pain, you would feel some tenderness, a grinding sensation, or stiffness on the front part of your shoulder.
A visit to a physiotherapist for an exercise regime that strengthens and stretches the shoulder cuffs is one of the treatments for this injury. Anti-inflammatory drugs have also been known to help with this injury. Treatment may also involve surgery in the most severe cases.
4. Back Pain
Back pain plagues a lot of veteran or frequent golfers, and this is understandable. Hunching over golf clubs for hours and rotating your hips repeatedly are recipes for back pain. There are times you would feel a sudden pain in the lower back region from overstretching during a swing. You may also feel pain in the upper parts of your back, somewhere between your shoulder blades.
Many things can help to prevent back pain. Regularly exercising your back muscles, especially the pectoral and trapezius muscles helps. Also, make sure you do some warm-up exercises before you launch into a golf lesson. Taking part in flexibility activities like yoga also helps.
There are many ways to treat back pain. You may only need to rest and take some pain meds. Your treatment could be a simple deep tissue massage. Depending on the severity of the pain, you may also visit a chiropractor or take some steroid medicines. Surgery is not unheard of in some severe cases.
5. Golf Elbow and Tennis Elbow
Golf and tennis elbows, or tendinitis in the elbows, are just sports terms for inflammation and irritation of the tendon in the elbows. Golf elbow refers to what we call the one that happens in the inner tendon while a tennis elbow occurs in the outer tendon. Surprisingly, the one that plagues golfers more is the tennis elbow. However, a golf elbow can be just as painful as a tennis elbow.
Golf and tennis elbows occur from using the elbows repetitively. During swings, many little tears occur in the tendons in the elbows. It is common among golfers in their thirties and older. Preventing these injuries only takes proper swing techniques and giving your elbows enough rest off the golf course.
Rest is also a treatment for tendonitis in the elbows. You should take some time off the golf course.
6. Knee Injury
Your knees play big roles in your swings, and that makes them susceptible to injury and pain. At the beginning of a swing, you stress your knee to accommodate and help stabilize the swift rotation of your hips.
When there is too much force on the knee, it could tear your anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). Sometimes, you would hear a “pop” sound. Golfers who have arthritis are more prone to knee injuries because of the nature of the disease. It wears away the joint cartilages gradually.
If you feel pain in your knee, it could be caused by many conditions. In the case of mild pain, get enough rest, stretch and exercise the knee, and ice it. These could reduce inflammation. But is the case of severe pain, a visit to the doctor is unavoidable.
7. Wrist Injuries
Wrist injuries occur from the repetitive movements of the wrist during swings. Of all the golf injuries that plague golfers, tendinitis is one of the most common.
The symptom is pain and tenderness on the wrist. Tendinitis in the wrist hinders you from holding the golf properly. You may not even be able to grip the club at all in severe cases of tendinitis.
Prevention of wrist injuries is by strengthening your wrist through exercises. You can do this in the offseason if you are worried it would affect you during the season.
Here you have the most common golf injuries, and the good news is that some of these are avoidable. And for the ones that you end up experiencing, there are ways to treat them and possibly prevent them in the future.
However, fear of injury should not stop you from enjoying an interesting game of golf. Enjoy!