Common Golf Injuries and What You Can Do to Prevent Them
There are approximately 30 million golfers in the United States. If you’re among the 10 percent of the population that participates in this sport, you may think of it as a low-level type of activity. However, it may result in injuries ranging from mild to severe if you’re not taking some precautions when you tee off, work your way out of a sand trap, or go for a hole-in-one. In fact, there were more than 100,000 golf-related injuries that required medical treatment in 2015 alone, according to one estimate. Here’s a closer look at common golf injuries and what you can do to prevent them the next time you play a round.
Low Back Pain
Poor swinging habits may create rotational stress that affects your lower back and muscles that support it. Hunching over your putter and similar clubs can also produce the same results. If spine-supporting muscles are already weak, added stress can make low back pain worse. Prevent LBP with simple strengthening exercises when not on the green, such as pull downs with rubber tubing hanging from a door frame and rowing motions with secured resistance bands. Lower back muscles can also be strengthened with controlled-movement practices like yoga and Pilates. Also, adjust the straps properly on your golf bag so weight is distributed better.
Constantly repeating the same motions while swinging or putting sometimes irritates or damages forearm muscles and tendons. Similar to tennis elbow, this type of injury is commonly referred to as “golfer’s elbow” (medial epicondylitis). It’s an irritation of inner tendons of the elbow often caused by hitting the ground first during your swing. Prevent golfer’s elbow by slowing your swing and avoiding over-extensions. Strengthening your elbow tendons and forearm muscles with resistance bands can also be helpful.
Rotator Cuff Injuries
Repeated stress from swings sometimes irritates groups of tendons and muscles around the shoulder joint. Inflammation of rotator cuff muscles reduces flexibility over time and produces symptoms that often start with dull aches that worsen. If left untreated, rotator cuff injuries may reach a point where surgical repairs are necessary. Stretching to improve flexibility and avoiding poor swing habits can help prevent golf-related rotator cuff injuries. If you do experience shoulder pain after a round of golf, ease inflammation with the RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) method.
The best way to prevent golf-related injuries is to pay attention to proper form and technique. Doing a proper stretch before you swing can be just as helpful, as can staying hydrated when you’re out on the course. Since not all pain is noticeable right away, also be mindful of any discomfort in your lower back, shoulders, or elbows that may develop later. If some rest and home remedies aren’t easing your pain, seek some medical input to see what’s contributing to your discomfort.