When one thinks of sports injuries, they generally think of a hard-hitting running back, a too-tall-for-his-own-good center or a rambunctious hockey defenseman. After all, injuries are just part of life for contact sports players. However, injuries can come with any sport, and that includes golf.
Although it may not be the most physical of games, golfers often find themselves injured. Look at Tiger Woods, who hurt his knee so badly he was limping through the final round of the 2008 US Open at Pebble Beach. It’s no wonder that many of today’s professional golfers put themselves through intense workouts in order to avoid common injuries associated with the game.
In honor of National Golf Month, here are some of the most common golfing injuries and how to prevent them:
Your spine is the foundation of everything you do. That’s why swinging a golf club, standing in putter’s stance and bending over to pick up your ball can really take a toll on your lower vertebrae and lumbar spine. It’s important that golfers maintain correct posture while swinging and putting. It’s very easy to hunch over into a Forward Posture, which makes your body compensate to stay balanced when you swing. If they don’t maintain good posture, frequent golfers may have spinal arthritis in their futures.
Medial epicondylitis, or “golfer’s elbow,” is caused by overuse of the elbow, which can occur from frequent swinging and an incorrect grip on the golf club. It is characterized by inflammation and pain in the inside portion of the upper arm located near the elbow. It can make the elbow painful and stiff, especially when making a fist, and may make the grip weak as well.
A well-balanced swing and a proper grip on the club are the best precautions against golfer’s elbow.
Golfers can often damage their rotator cuff due to their swing. This joint can develop arthritis, bursitis and other inflammatory conditions. In extreme cases, a golfer can even dislocate their shoulder if their swing is too aggressive.
Wrist and Hand Injury
The hands and wrists are what absorb the impact of hitting the golf ball. As the tendons are strained, they eventually lose their mobility. Some specific injuries that can occur are tendinitis (a stiffness and swelling of a joint), carpal tunnel syndrome (a numb feeling that radiates from the wrist to the fingers) and De Quervain syndrome (a condition that causes pain in the wrist near the base of the thumb).
Last but not least, a golfer’s improper swing can contribute to a knee injury. Swelling, pain or clicking in the knee are all signs that something is not right.
Again, the most important way to avoid injury while golfing is to perfect your swing in terms of both balance and posture. Not only will you lessen the chances of a painful injury, but you’ll likely see an improvement in your game, as well.