MOST COMMON GOLF INJURIES
Frederick G. Dalzell, MD
Board Certified Orthopaedic Surgeon
Fractured ribs, herniated discs, injured wrist and knees, we’re not talking the Eagles injury report, but rather some of the injuries suffered on the PGA tour! Hard to believe that what’s been described as “a good walk spoiled” and debated by others as not even being a sport could result in this litany of injuries.
So what are the most common problems suffered by the weekend golfer and how can you treat and prevent them?
It’s been estimated that 80% of Americans will experience back pain at some time in their life. That number becomes even higher when you enjoy golf as an activity. With the average golfer generating torque and swing speeds of 80 to 90 miles an hour and pros well over 110 it is not surprising that the raid generation and sudden stop put significant stress on the lumbar spine. Pre and in-season stretching and core strengthening can be good preventatives. Rest, anti-inflammatories (like Motrin or Aleve) stretching, deep tissue massage and bracing all may be helpful early on. If not responding after a week you may need to see your health care professional.
Tennis elbow (outside of the elbow) and golfer’s elbow (medial elbow) are also the bane of the duffer and pro golfer alike. Over use, hitting off mats, too stiff a shaft and improper grip size can lead to these problems. Stretching, tennis elbow straps, ice, anti inflammatories and injections all have a place in treatment. Sometimes a switch to graphite or a more flexible shaft may be beneficial and could be a reason to consult a golf professional.
Most wrist pain related to golf comes from tendonitis and over use. Taking time off (sorry fellow golfers), ice and anti-inflammatories will cure most cases. If the pain follows striking a root or another object, results in joint swelling or lasts more than a week after treatment than a more serious injury (fracture or ligament tear) is a possibility and a trip to the doctor is more advisable.
The stiff lead leg is exposed to high stress during weight shift, and while not as common as some of these other problems these injuries often involve ligaments or meniscus and may need medical attention earlier. Those with arthritis also may see flares during golf season. Bracing and an evaluation of your swing by your golf pro may help. Continue reading