Golf Injuries and How to Avoid Them
Although golf is not considered to represent a high-impact sport, the simple fact of the matter is that injuries can and will occur from time to time. For example, did you know that the most recent golf injury statistics point out that seven out of every ten amateurs will eventually need to have some type of treatment? This is why it is a good idea to take a look at golf injuries and how to prevent them when possible. If you are curious to learn more, the information found below will prove highly useful.
What are Some Common Injuries in Golf and How Can They be Avoided?
Golf and injuries sometimes enjoy a "hand-in-hand" relationship and no pun is intended in this sense. However, you might be surprised to learn that some of the worst golf injuries involve many other portions of the body. Let's take a quick look at five examples in order to appreciate the big picture. A golf swing and injuries to the back are therefore rather common.
Lower Back Pain
It should come as no great surprise that the amount of rotational stress placed upon your lower back can result in issues over time. A golf swing and injuries to the back are therefore rather common. While the lower back is at risk, let's also mention that others experience pain in the upper back.
Issues with the Rotator Cuff
Swinging a golf club can likewise lead to issues with your rotator cuff. This is why the phrase "common golf injuries shoulder" normally produces many results within an online search engine. As the rotator cuff represents a critical portion of the shoulder girdle, chronic movements within this area can lead to issues that may build up over time (consider baseball pitchers to appreciate this observation). The pain associated with a rotator cuff strain can likewise spread to the shoulder and neck; further hampering your experience on the green.
This is another term for simple elbow tendonitis. Similar to tennis elbow, it is thought that this condition tends to impact those who regularly overextend their swing. The pain normally begins at the inside of the elbow before radiating down the forearm. This can also be caused by striking the ground when taking a shot or by the fatigue associated with an improper grip (particularly if too much strain is placed upon the forearms).
Knee Pain or Damage
Knees support a great deal of the weight of your body when golfing. Knowing how to prevent knee injuries in golf first involves appreciating the fact that many are caused by a lack of flexibility and relatively poor conditioning. The fact of the matter is that this pain will normally not subside on its own. It will need to be diagnosed by a trained doctor in order to get to the root of the problem.
Some golfers will experience discomfort in one or both ankles. While this can be caused by insufficient support or walking with the wrong type of shoes, it is more commonly felt within the non-dominant ankle. In other words, right-handed golfers can experience issues with their left ankle. This arises from the fact that the non-dominant foot is subject to a good deal of rotation during your swing. If you happen to notice any pain during longer drives, there is a high probability that your pivoting foot is being placed under a good deal of pressure.
This type of tendonitis is associated with pain and swelling around the wrist and thumb. In terms of golf injuries in the hand, this situation is quite common. There are some who might even notice a clicking sound or feel that their wrist painfully locks in place foe a few seconds. While there can be times when equipment is to blame, the chances are high that body mechanics are also involved. This is why the first step in knowing how to reduce golf injuries requires involves knowing how they can be avoided. This also brings us to the next point.
How to Avoid Injuries in Golf
It is wise to take a look at each of the five scenarios mentioned above in order to understand how each can be treated. For instance, those who are dealing with pain in the lower back are likely placing different sections of the hips and shoulders under different amounts of torque. This may lead to an injury; especially for those who do not regularly stretch before a game. One of the ways in which this can be avoided is to try and turn the body in unison during a swing. This added level of balance will help to prevent any strain within the lower back.
In terms of the rotator cuff, the chances are high that the mechanics of your swing are off. Furthermore, this area of the shoulder may be weaker than the surrounding musculature. This is why participating in a targeted strength training programme is often a wise choice, as therapists will be able to focus upon the area that is causing you problems. In the event that you begin to experience pain in the shoulders, it is best to rest and relax as opposed to ignoring the condition. Otherwise, it will only get worse over time.
It only makes sense that we address issues withe neck alongside the rotator cuff. As these two regions are physically related, pain within one area could indicate a problem with the other. There are several reasons why you could experience discomfort on a regular basis. Experts point out that poor posture is normally present; particularly when leaning over before taking a shot. Failing to warm up sufficiently and turning your head quickly from one side to the other (such as when following the trajectory of a ball) are other factors to take into account.
Golfer's elbow can also be avoided with the proper steps. Once again, stretching the affected area is a critical habit to embrace. This is even more important if you happen to be playing in cold and/or damp conditions. progressively loading the associated tendon with increased stress (such as an exercise band) will also help to strengthen the entire elbow region over time. Finally, you might need to adjust your swing if the club head makes contact with the ground on a regular basis.
Knee pain can have a massive impact upon your game. This is why such a situation can be avoided by stretching out before hitting the green. Experts also recommend that you remain adequately hydrated, as water will help to cushion the joints between bones. Take a look at the mechanics of your body when standing, squatting and leaning forward during a shot. Try to determine if you are placing more stress upon one knee than the other. Even a slight imbalance can lead to issues. Of course, always be sure to see a specialist if this pain worsens over time.
Tendonitis in the wrists is another condition which can normally be prevented if the right approach is taken. The chances are high that poor mechanics are at least partly to blame in this situation. One common issue involves "casting" the club during your swing. In this instance, an undue amount of stress is placed upon the back of the wrist and upon a tendon known as the extensor carpi ulnaris. If this tendon becomes injured, pain will occur. It is also important to mention that playing in the rough can cause sudden impacts (such as hitting a long patch of grass). Stretching before a game and paying attention to the mechanics of your swing will help to address these risks.
If you happen to experience the type of ankle pain mentioned in the previous section, adjusting your stance and follow-through are important steps to take. Pay particular attention to whether or not you over-rotate your lower extremities during the latter half of your swing. Purchasing golfing shoes with a greater degree of ankle support is also a wise choice if you regularly walk long distances between holes.
Injuries in Golf and Rehabilitation: Video Resources and a Handful of Useful Tips
While there is no doubt that avoiding incidents that might place your body under undue strain is important, we also need to keep in mind that knowing how to mitigate golf injuries is an important topic which needs to be covered in detail. However, it is crucial to mention that the majority of players will likely experience some physical ailments from time to time. The key is therefore how to minimise the chances that you will experience such situations. Let's therefore spend some time taking a look at some professional tips and worthwhile suggestions to keep in mind along the way.
Addressing Lower Back Pain and a Tight Spinal Column
As this video points out, one of the main reasons why golfers experience chronic injuries from time to time involves a back that does not contain the proper amount of flexibility. While there can be many causes for this situation, the fact of the matter is that increasing your range of mobility and stretching out before hitting the green is one of the most effective ways to elongate your spine and to provide a greater degree of flexibility within your lower lumbar region.
Knee Pain (Specifically the Left Knee)
We mentioned knee discomfort earlier in this article and once again, this is a common ailment which can dramatically detract from your overall game. It can also hamper your ability to follow through on long-range shots. Many golfers tend to encounter this issue if they do not twist their upper torso sufficiently during their swing and the subsequent follow-through. If your chest does not properly rotate, the lower body (and the leading knee in particular) will be forced to twist in an unnatural fashion. If you are experiencing such discomfort, you are not alone. In fact, Tiger Woods recently underwent arthroscopic surgery to correct issues with his left knee tendon (known as the meniscus). Be sure to analyse your swing to ensure that you are obtaining the proper level of rotation. If you still suffer from relatively constant pain, it is also a good idea to obtain a professional opinion in order to determine what other rehabilitative steps could be recommended.
Strengthening Your Forearm Muscles
We once again need to remember that the body is an extremely complex organic machine. Weak muscles within a certain area will have dramatic effects upon nearby systems. This is why the common search term "golf injuries hand" will often stress the role of the forearm. If these muscles are weak, a significant amount of pressure will be placed upon the wrist. This naturally increases the chances of developing tendonitis in the future. One simple way to augment your forearm strength is to simply squeeze a tennis ball while watching television or otherwise relaxing. Let's also point out that stronger forearms lessen the chances of developing problems with your elbows.
If there is one main takeaway point within this entire article, it is that golf is a game of physical balance. However, some individuals feel that strength training and golf should never be used in conjunction. The exact opposite is actually true. Many individuals who experience pain in their upper back or even common golf injuries ribs have not adequately developed the proper balance of strength in their front and rear shoulders. This will cause the frontal (anterior) or rear (posterior) region to overcompensate. Simple shoulder exercises such as lateral, frontal and rear dumbbell raises will help these muscles to work in synergy with one another. If you seem to constantly suffer from stiff or tense shoulders while on the green, the chances are high that a bit of strength training can help.
Centring Your Body Throughout the Swing
This tip is a more general suggestion and yet, it is extremely important. As this instructional video points out, some golfers tend to lose their centre of balance during their swing. Examples can include standing up, lowering the hips or arching away from the location of the ball. Two situations will occur as a result. First, the chances are high that the power and accuracy of your drive will be affected. Secondly, the body will once again be forced to overcompensate. If you become easily fatigued or should you feel a noticeable amount of pressure in your back or knees, try to analyse your posture to determine if it is changing during the swing.
Preventing "Trigger Finger"
You might be surprised to learn that a condition known as "trigger finger" affects many golfers. This arises from the fact that the fingers are controlled by many tiny tendons which attach them to nearby bones and muscles. If these tendons are placed under a significant amount of strain for an extended period of time (such as when playing 18 holes), they can become injured. This most likely arises from a grip which is too tight. Female golfers and those over the age of 40 are more likely to suffer from this condition, as their hands are gripping the shaft tighter in order to accommodate for the forearm issues that we mentioned earlier.
There are a handful of useful tips if you wish to avert any possible golf finger injuries. These include:
- Taking an adequate amount of rest between shots.
- Correctly gripping the shaft.
- Wearing gloves in order to obtain extra padding between your hands and the club.
On a final note, try to slightly loosen your grip. Not only will this help to alleviate the symptoms associated with trigger finger, but it can also address any issues that you might be experiencing with your wrists.
Eliminating Kinks and Cramps in the Neck
One of the issues which golfers may encounter with neck pain is that it may take weeks or even months to abate. More serious conditions such as sciatica can last for ages without treatment. However, there are several tips to keep in mind if you hope to avoid such situations. A handful of stretching exercises before heading out on the green can prove to be invaluable assets if they are developed as long-term habits.
Gently rotate your head in a circular fashion while keeping your shoulders perfectly still. You can also slowly pull your chin to your chest with the help of your hands. If you do happen to be tense, it will be immediately noticeable. As this physical therapy video highlights, even rolling your shoulders to the front and back can produce noticeable results. A word of caution should nonetheless be mentioned. Never force your neck to stretch in a certain position and avoid jerky movements. They can actually lead to further cramps and strains. If neck pain is accompanied by numbness or tingling, it is wise to speak with a trained specialist so that the proper diagnosis can be obtained.
Golf Injuries to the Abdomen
While we have mentioned tips to deal with lower back pain, what if this pain happens to emanate from your abdominal region? There are two reasons why this might occur. There can be times when a pinched nerve in your lower back will cause phantom pain within your stomach muscles. The other situation involves twisting or pivoting the wrong way; particularly during your swing. Performing core strengthening exercises will help to provide your core with a greater degree of stability. As always, stretching for 10 or 15 minutes before an upcoming outing is also advisable, as increased blood flow to the abdomen will help to reduce the chances of a muscle being pulled.
Hip Issues in Golf
The online search term "golf injuries hip" encompasses a wide range of possible causes. Some of these can include improper twisting, a stance that is out of balance and even using the wrong type of shoes when walking long distances. However, the most common reason for hip pain involves the tendency to shift your weight to the rear during your backswing. As this informative segment illustrates, such an imbalanced position will place a great deal of strain upon the lateral (outer) portion of your rear hip. If you are a right-handed golfer, your right hip will likely be affected.
The best tip to avoid excessive hip pain is to remain centred throughout the entire shot. Pay particular attention to the position of your body and hips during the backswing. If you find that you are leaning, you will need to make conscious adjustments so that the balance of your core is maintained.
Chronic Pains and Strains
Finally, many golfers suffer from repetitive strain injuries that tend to become more chronic over time. These do not necessarily have to represent severe issues, but the chances are high that they are signs that you need to become more limber. Targeted strength conditioning exercises are always a wise choice, but what if you suffer from issues such as arthritis which prevent you from adopting such a programme?
The good news is that a number of simple stretches can provide you with a greater degree of flexibility. This chiropractic video demonstrates how placing a stick (such as a broom handle) on your shoulders and twisting left to right while in a seated position can help to "open up" your hips and abdominal region. As we have stated throughout this article, it is always bets to consult with a golf specialist or physiotherapist in order to obtain the most appropriate training programme for your requirements.
Helpful Resources and Further Information
In order to provide you with even more guidance and insight, our team has put together a handful of extremely useful online resources as well as instructional videos in the form of hyperlinks so that you can identify when a problem might exist. Please feel free to browse through this list at your disposal in order to learn more.