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Common Golf Injuries and How to Treat Them

64% of golf injuries involve the elbow, hands, wrists and shoulder. Are you feeling pain after golfing? This post will cover some of the most common golf injuries, why they happen, and how they're treated.

A golfer holds his wrist. Having wrist pain after golf could be caused by a number of conditions.

Your arms take a beating on the golf course. We’d like to help you understand why you’re in pain, what you can do about it.

In this post, we’re going to talk about:

  • Golf-related injuries to the hands, wrists, elbows and shoulders
  • How you should treat golf-related injuries
  • When it’s time to call a doctor
  • How to prevent golf-related injuries in the first place

Let’s start with some of the common golf injuries that we see:

Golf-Related Injuries

Hand Injuries

A bad grip often contributes to hand pain after golf. Gripping the club too tightly or in the wrong way can result in injury.

One hand injury we see in golfers is a fracture of the hook of the hamate. The hook of the hamate is a bone in your wrist. It can be broken when your club strikes the gound hard.

If you play often, you may also develop carpal tunnel syndrome from golfing. Many think that carpal tunnel is unique to people who sit at a desk and type, but playing golf can cause it as well.

Wrist Injuries

Sprained wrists are one of the most common golf-related wrist injuries that we see.

Sprains often happen when golfers strike a root or rock during their swing. Poor mechanics can also lead to sprains, since hitting a fat shot puts so much strain on your wrists.

If you’ve been noticing a gradual increase in wrist pain after golfing, it may be tendinitis.

Wrist tendinitis comes with overuse or poor form. Stress from swinging the club causes tiny tears in your wrist tendons. Those tendons get inflamed and cause pain.

Elbow Injuries

One of the injuries we see is so common in golfers that the sport is in its name. That’s right – we’re talking about Golfer’s Elbow.

Golfers Elbow is a condition that comes from the strain of repetitive motion. You may have Golfer’s Elbow if you have forearm and elbow pain after golfing.

Another common elbow injury that we treat is torn ligaments. Fat shots, hitting rocks and other swing problems can be too much for your elbows.

If you feel very sharp pain in your elbow after making contact, you see a doctor. At the very least you may have strained a ligament. At worse, you’ve torn it.

Torn elbow ligaments are the most common golf injury that we treat with surgery.

Shoulder Injuries

Shoulder tendinitis is one of the most common conditions. If you haven’t noticed yet, a golf swing and tendinitis go hand-in-hand.

Poor mechanics can result in a condition called “shoulder impingement.” This happens when your tendons are being pinched between the bones in your shoulder.

Impingement leads to tendinitis, which can lead to a tear. And then you’re looking at surgery.

How are these golf injuries treated?

Rest. Ice. Anti-inflammatory medication

No golfer wants to spend less time on the course. And there’s a temptation to “play through the pain.” That won’t work. Overuse is a cause of most of these injuries. So using your arms more is only going to make the problem worse.

If you’re experiencing pain, you should follow the steps above. When those aren’t reducing your pain, you may need some professional help.

Occupational therapy

We often treat Golfer’s Elbow with occupational therapy. With stretching and exercise, a therapist can reduce your pain and speed up recovery.

Doctors sometimes recommend physical therapy for golfers depending on their injury. If your doctor has done so, we recommend Motus Rehabilitation for your therapy needs.

Surgery

In most cases, this is the last resort. Surgery is unavoidable if you’ve torn something. If you think that you may have torn a muscle playing golf, contact MSS to get an evaluation.

When should you call a doctor?

Michigan Surgery Specialists can treat any of these conditions. Give us a call at (586) 573-6880 if:

  • Your pain lasts longer than 2-3 days
  • You feel numbness and tingling
  • You had a sudden and very sharp pain while playing (as when you hit the ground with your club)
  • Intense pain with movement

If you experience any of these, you should give us a call.

How do you avoid golf injuries?

Get swing lessons

Aside from overuse, poor swing mechanics lead to injury. Hitting fat shots comes from bad form. Awkward motion during your swing puts extra pressure on your ligaments and tendons. If you’re going to be playing often, it’s worth your time and money to take a few lessons from a golf pro.

Get in better shape

Weak tendons are easier to injure. Since golfing puts so much strain on your arms, being in shape matters. If you’re going to be golfing often, stretching and strength training for your arms are a good idea.

Warm up before swinging

Going straight to the teebox and swinging full-speed increases your chance of injury. Take some time to stretch your arms, legs and . Begin with some light swings and work up to full speed.

Ready to talk to a doctor?

If you’re in pain, we can help. The doctors at Michigan Surgery Specialists will help you understand your injury. And we’ll give you a full range of treatment options.

Contact us to request an appointment today.

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Dr Williams

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Edward Burke

Edward F. Burke, D.O., FAOAO

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