Golf Injuries to the Wrist and Hand

Mark Walsh PT, DPT, MS, CHT
Titleist Performance Institute Certified
Shore Orthopaedic Physical Therapy

Did you know that of all the sports the most injuries to the hand and wrist occur in golf?

Hand injuries occur in about 10% of professional and 20% in the amateur golfers. The incidence may be explained by the anatomic and mechanical complexity of the wrist and hand. Most of the injuries occur in the lead wrist and hand associated with overuse, golf swing faults and mechanics and trauma.

Overuse injuries are primarily tendonitis or tenosynovitis such as deQuervains tenosynovitis (inflammation of tendons on the thumb side of the wrist). Overuse injuries often occur in the amateur at the beginning of the golf season, when the golfer is not appropriately physically prepared to strike the golf ball. For example, as the golf season approaches it’s off to the driving range hitting a large bucket of balls one after another without appropriate warm up and rest between swings. Watch a professional warm up hitting golf balls notice, that between each swing, they stop, analyze the ball flight, divot etc. and discuss it with their caddy or coach.  The take home message is that the amateur hits too many golf balls to quickly and too often. Overuse also occurs due to a lack of physical conditioning for their entire body, not just the upper extremity. The power and the ability to strike the golf ball correctly comes from the use of the powerful core and lower extremity muscles. If the lower body does not initiate the swing sequence correctly this can cause changes in the upper body swing mechanics placing the wrist and hand at risk. Swing faults of “Casting, Scooping, Chicken Winging and Over the Top” can contribute to wrist and hand injuries.

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