Golf is a popular sport that has multiple health benefits. Its popularity has also grown due to the fact that it is a common leisure-time physical activity in aging populations whose training threshold is reduced by age. Research studies demonstrate that playing golf provides enough physical activity to improve health.
While the sport provides health and fitness benefits, it has certain risks of injury that may significantly affect a player’s enjoyment of the game. This post looks at the common golf injuries and ways to prevent and manage injuries.
Common Injuries Suffered by Golfers
1. Lower back injuries
Lower back injuries are the most common musculoskeletal problems affecting amateur and seasoned golfers (think Tiger Woods) as well as young and old players. Studies show that low back pain accounts for about 25% of all golf injuries although incidence rates as high as 54% have been reported.
Below are factors that contribute to lower back pain from playing golf.
• Muscle strain – also known as “pulled muscle”, a muscle strain occurs when a golfer performs a forceful/rough swing or suddenly shifts the position of their body during a downswing. This strain can result in muscle stiffness, joint fixations, fascial restrictions or movement alterations.
• Vertebral disc injuries – golfers require a huge amount of spinal flexion during a swing. This puts pressure on the disc causing them to lose shape and compress spinal nerves. There are two common types of vertebral disc injuries: a protruding disc where a portion of the disc protrudes into the spinal canal and a herniated disc where the outer ring of the disc extends into the spinal canal. This can be added to by how you tee up or get your ball out of the hole.
2. Shoulder injuries
These types of injuries can occur on the leading shoulder or the non-leading shoulder. They are often caused by abnormal swings, repetitive motion or abrupt change in motion. Injuries to the top of the shoulder include acromioclavicular joint sprain, rotator cuff tears, and subacromial impingement. Non-leading shoulder injuries include rotator impingement and SLAP (cartilage) tear.
3. Elbow injuries
The most common injury to the elbow is golfer’s elbow or medial epicondylitis. This condition results from overuse and inflammation of the tendons of the forearm that meet the bony protrusion of the elbow. Golfer’s elbow can also be aggravated by an over-flexing wrist or overextended backswing.
4. Wrist injuries
Wrist injuries often occur due to overuse, trauma, improper grip and poor mechanics. Some of the most common wrist injuries include wrist sprains, wrist tendinitis, hamate bone fractures, and ulnar tunnel syndrome.
Practices That Promote Spinal Health and Prevent Golf Injuries
• Warm up your body before any game.
• Do a few practice swings before getting into a game
• Stand on even surfaces when you swing.
• Use proper form through your golf swing. This includes reducing your swing length, making a squat move for the downswing and thrusting your pelvis toward the target to finish.
Treating Golf Related Spine Injuries
Since most golf injuries are acute, resting, icing the affected area, using a sling or brace to restrict movement and taking anti-inflammatory medications can usually help. Spinal physiotherapy which includes exercises designed to stretch and strengthen the muscles can also help ease pain. Turramurra Physiotherapy are experts in sport and spinal physiotherapy and rehabilitation, contact them on 02 9144 1510 today.