Golf is often considered a low-level physical activity, however, like any other sport, injury is possible. As part of National Golf Month, we are sharing more information about golf injuries and preventative measures you can take to avoid sitting out for the next golf trip!
Types of Golf Injuries
Most golf injuries are the result of overuse. By repeating the same golf swing motion over and over again, significant stress is placed on the same muscles, tendons, and joints. Over time, this can cause injury.
- Golfer’s Elbow: Medial epicondylitis or golfer’s elbow, is one of the most common injuries. Golfer’s elbow is an inflammation of the tendons that attach to your forearm muscles to the inside of the bone at your elbow. The forearm muscles and tendons become damaged from overuse leading to pain and tenderness on the inside of the elbow.
- Low Back Pain: Low back pain is another common complaint among golfers. It is often caused by a poor swing. The rotational stresses of the golf swing can place considerable pressure on the spine and muscles. Poor flexibility and muscle strength can also be the cause of minor strains in the back that can easily become severe injuries. Below are a few simple exercises to help strengthen lower back muscles.
One of the best ways to avoid elbow problems is to strengthen your forearm muscles and slow your golf swing so that there will be less shock in the arm when the ball is hit. The following exercises can help build your forearm muscles and help you avoid the golfer’s elbow.
Squeeze a tennis ball. Squeezing an old tennis ball for 5 minutes at a time is a simple, effective
exercise that will strengthen your forearm muscles.
Wrist curls. Using a lightweight dumbbell, lower the weight to the end of your fingers and then
Curl the weight back into your palm. Follow this by curling up your wrist to lift the weight an inch
or two higher. Perform 10 repetitions with one arm and then repeat with the other arm.
Rowing. Firmly tie the ends of rubber tubing together and place it around an object that is
shoulder height. Standing with your arms straight out in front of you, grasp the tubing and slowly pull it towards your chest. Release slowly. Performs 3 sets of 10 repetitions.
Yoga and Pilates. These exercise programs focus on trunk and abdomen strength, as well as flexibility. Try finding a class at your local gym or recreational center.
General Injury Prevention
- Like with most sports or physical activities, warming up beforehand is a great way to prevent injury. A good warm-up prepares your body for more intense activity by getting your blood flowing and raising your muscle temperature. Before playing a round of golf, do some simple stretching exercises, focusing on your shoulders, back, and legs. Hitting a few golf balls on the driving range is also a great way to warm up your body for a full 18 holes of golf. It will not only help your game but will help prevent injury in the long run.
- Following proper technique is a great way to prevent injury. If you feel tension in your joints following a swing, try something else or ask for guidance.
- Protect your skin by using sunscreen. Wear sunglasses and/or a hat with a visor to shade your eyes and face.
- Make sure you are well hydrated before, during, and after your game. Replace your fluids, whether you feel thirsty or not.
- When riding in a golf cart, keep your feet inside the cart. Leaving them outside the cart puts you at risk of getting caught under the moving cart and breaking an ankle.
- Always be aware of your surroundings and other players on the course. It is possible to sustain a soft-tissue injury by being hit by a golf ball.
If you believe you have experienced a golf-related injury, give Dr. Hicken a call at 435-787-2000. With an appropriate diagnosis and treatment from our experienced team, you can be back on the course shortly, pain-free.