Top Five Injuries In Golf
1. Back Pain, Particularly lower back
2. Shoulder Pain, Particularly Rotator Cuff
3. Golfers Elbow
4. Knee Pain
5. Wrist Pain, Tendonitis
Research indicates that Golf injuries affect up to 20% of players each year. The majority of injuries are a result of overuse and repetitive strain in nature. Due to the complex swing and body position in golf along with the explosive action more traumatic injuries can occur, but are uncommon.
Lower back pain is the most common Golf injury, followed by shoulder and elbow pain. Research evidence indicates that recreational golfers are more likely to sustain and injury than golfers at a professional level. As a golfers handicapp lowers the skill level improves and most importantly consistency in the swing. So even with swing errors injuries are less as the body adapts.
Recreational golfers also have played or play other sports and other injuries impact on their golf. Age is also a factor as we get older our bodies take longer to adapt, are not as flexible, and take longer to recover so the chances of injury are increased.
Lower back pain is the number 1 injury in golf! The repetitive action and the rotation of the spine during the golf swing are the primary cause of pain. The complex swing movement needs correction by a golf professional and structured practice by the Golfer. A variety of structures of the lower back can be affected – the discs, ligaments, muscles or facet joints – but with golfers it tends to be related to discs. A herniated disc or more commonly known as a slipped disc is when gel like material moves from inside the disc and is very painful. Alignment is also critical as this more painful when bending forwards and can cause the muscle at the back to spasm leading to sciatica.
What can you do to prevent back pain?
A golf swing review would be essential with a focus on body movement through all swings from driver to wedge and chipping and putting. Core strength helps and stability exercises are good in back support during the golf swing but will be strengthened with good golf swing technique. Swing within yourself and slow movement down so you have time to execute the swing. Some general physical conditioning, using a trolley instead of carrying a bag and when practising take time and play different shots.
What should you do if you suffer Lower Back Pain?
Rest in the first instance, and if symptoms persist seek medical help. Pain relief medication is usually prescribed post diagnosis and in the form of painkillers and anti-inflammatory medication.
At interX Pain Clinic we have treated many Golfers with lower back pain and enabled them to play golf and not hurt themselves again. We also work out a care package to suit each individual to help with focused mobility plan to help prevent the issue occurring.
Shoulder Pain tends to be linked to the rotator cuff muscles of the shoulder in Golfers. The rotator cuff muscles (subscapularis, supraspinatus, infraspinatus and teres minor) are small muscles that hold the shoulder in place. Due to compression of the joint in back-swing and extension in follow through these muscles can become damaged due to repetitive use. The pain is usually minor initially and can only be felt on extreme points of the swing and begins as inflammation and tendonitis. Excessive use can lead to tears and more pain if not treated in the early stages.
What can you do to prevent Shoulder Pain?
Golfers have to warm up prior to playing and particularly practice with some specific shoulder stretches and slow deliberate swing practice. Stephen can show some shoulder stabilisation exercises and your golf pro can help significantly with technique.
What should you do if you suffer Shoulder Pain?
As stated earlier the pain tends to increase over time, and early intervention is best with some over the counter pain medication and a swing assessment to correct errors. If problems persist call Stephen at InterX Pain Clinic 01564 638049 and he will be able to help.
Golfer’s elbow is inflammation and pain on the inside of the elbow where the tendons inset into the upper and lower arm. This is caused by griping movements and forceful impact on the arm such as swinging and gripping a golf club. Pain is in the inner part of the elbow when it is bent and as the forearm rotates and moves the arm straight in the swing at impact. If you have excessive wrist action in the swing this can also aggravate the elbow. When it is painful picking up bags, and doing simple gripping and carrying activities can be very painful.
What can you do to prevent Golfer’s Elbow?
Gripping the golf club too hard and trying to “hit the ball” rather than swing can cause elbow problems. Warm up the arms and swing with relaxed half and three quarter swings and focus the power in swing from the body. Temporary relief can be had from wearing a golfers elbow compression strap which work by reducing wrist ex tensor muscles from contracting fully so taking the pressure off the elbow, this will alter your swing.
What should you do if you suffer Golfers’ Elbow?
Initial treatment should be cold compression or ice therapy with a few days rest and some over the counter pain and inflammation medication. Extensive use of compression straps and medication should be avoided as this will not aid the tissue healing. As there is not much tissue on the elbow, InterX Treatment is extremely effective in treating the pain and promoting accelerated healing, see client testimonials
In addition Stephen has a system of physical rehabilitation exercises that accelerate the elbow to a full recovery.
Knee Pain is common in golfers, rotational forces on the lead leg and weight transfer in the golf swing, along with standing and walking during play can all contribute. Often an injury from a different sport is aggrevated by golf movements and past injuries to cartilage and or cruciate ligaments along with arthritis can all contribute.
More detail on knee injuries HERE
How can you prevent knee pain?
Pain in the knee leads to subconsciously less movement and in turn leads to muscle wastage of the quadriceps (Thigh) muscles. This process leads to more joint instability and less movement so a downward cycle. Leg strengthening exercise and increased walking and stair climbing can make a huge difference and Stephen can advise on specific exercises if required.
Footwear on the golf course can help along with a trolley to help with the bag. Brisk walking between shots will also help and strengthen muscles.
What should you do if you suffer knee pain?
Initially rest and over the counter medication as previously discussed. If it is painful during the swing a visit to the golf professional will help with mechanics, if its walking a GP will assess and refer as required. In both instances Stephen at InterX Pain Clinic can help more detail on knee injuries HERE
Wrist Pain and Tendonitis
Wrist Pain is linked to Golfers elbow and tend to happen at the same time in extreme cases. The wrists can be damaged at impact particularly with grounding the club and taking a large divot. Grounding can also affect wrists with different club positions for instance rough or playing from a bunker. Wrist issues tend to occur when other elements of the swing are not coordinated so the wrist action tries to catch up and correct mistakes. The prevention and treatment is similar to Golfers Elbow