6 Most Common Types of Golf Injuries
Golf is one of the only sports that players of virtually any age and body type can enjoy leisurely and competitively. With such diverse player profiles, however, come diverse lower and upper body injuries. Here are six types of injuries most common amongst golfers.
Both erratic and repetitive swinging motions can stress tendons of the elbow, which is why elbow tendinitis is so prevalent in golfers. Elbow tendonitis causes swelling, weakness, and pain in either the inner or outer elbow tendon. Treatments may involve conservative combinations of rest and NSAIDs or slightly more invasive alternatives such as steroid injections.
Ranging from bursitis and tendonitis to full or partial tears, rotator cuff injuries can cause pain that radiates through the lead arm and shoulder. Injuries to this part of the shoulder may be caused by overuse or a single traumatic incident. Acute rotator cuff injuries are often treatable with rest and NSAIDs. More severe cases could require surgical intervention. Swing modifications may also be necessary to prevent further rotator cuff aggravation.
One of the most — if not the single most — common issues for golfers is lower back pain. Spinal compression and prolonged bending play a role in stressing the back over time. Although this type of ailment isn’t usually traumatic, continuing to play with back pain can lead to other injuries, including herniated discs. Many golfers are able to remedy mild back pain with rest and NSAIDS and prevent further issues by stretching and strengthening the back with weight training or by practicing yoga.
Similar to elbow tendonitis, wrist tendonitis often occurs when tendons of the wrist inflame due to repetitive swinging motions. Golfers may be able to reduce or bypass symptoms of tendonitis by wearing a brace to stabilize the wrist. Treatment for tendonitis in the wrist may vary from hand therapy and inflammation reducing medication to surgical intervention.
The energy that powers every golf swing starts in the feet and ankles. Excess stress during a swing can lead to injuries in the plantar fascia, Achilles tendon, and ankle bone. Adjusting swing mechanics and minimizing excess lateral movement are critical in preventing and minimizing injuries in the feet and ankles. Acute soft tissue injuries may be treated with the RICE method: rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Persistent foot and ankle problems may require prolonged rest, steroid injections, or surgery.
Injuries to the kneecap and knee ligaments are all-too-often results of excess torque on the golf course. Likewise, knee pain can develop over time as cartilage in the joint diminishes with age and chronic use. Golfers with underlying conditions are also more prone to painful knee conditions, but these may be mitigated by adjusting swing mechanics, using a ball retriever, and venturing the course with a cart. Treatments for knee conditions may range from physical therapy to full joint replacement.
Get to the Bottom of Your Golf-Related Injury
The cause of your golf-related pain could be as simple as too narrow a golf-club grip or as complex as a chronic underlying injury. At Orthopaedic Associates of St. Augustine, our diverse team of sports medicine specialists, physical therapists, and orthopaedic surgeons are capable of understanding the cause of pain and the courses of treatment available. Request an appointment online or schedule one by calling 904-825-0540.
Albert Volk, MD
Board certifications in Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine. Dr. Volk specializes in an all-arthroscopic rotator cuff repair of the shoulder.
Sina Kasraeian, MD
Board Certified by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery and has extensive training in arthroscopy and sports medicine reconstructive procedures.
Kurtis Hort, MD
Diplomate of the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery and a member of the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society. Dr. Hort specializes in reconstructive procedures of the foot and ankle.