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The Effects of Golf on Your Knees

The Effects of Golf on Your Knees

A solo game of swings, strokes, and putts, golf is what many consider a mild sport. In fact, it’s one of the few activities that patients can first return to following lower body joint surgery. If a trip to the driving range is safe enough for recently recovered patients, why do so many avid golfers continue to experience knee pain after a day on the green? 

The Causes of Golf-Related Knee Pain 

Even some of the most low-impact activities can irritate certain injuries or chronic conditions. Therefore, it should be no surprise that golfing can aggravate underlying knee conditions — such as arthritis or tendonitis. What many athletes fail to realize, however, is that golf can also create brand-new ones over time. When players line up the backswing and bring that momentum forward, the knee joints absorb a great deal of pressure from inner rotation. Particularly in the leading knee, compressive and multiplied force from golf swings can cause injuries such as:

Likewise, when players traverse the green, trek through bunkers, and bend to pick up stray balls, they add even more stress to the knee joints. Such activity puts older players or players with a history of knee injuries at higher risk for joint damage.  

How to Prevent Knee Pain While Playing 

Just like perfecting a stroke, minimizing knee torque and pressure takes practice. Fortunately, there are specific knee-protecting techniques and exercises that players can immediate put into play at home and in between holes, such as: 

  • Wearing soft-spike golfing shoes 

  • Maintaining a healthy body composition  

  • Stretching to avoid tightness in the upper and lower body  

  • Warming up to engage key muscle groups before playing 

  • Resting the knees if they feel tender, swollen, or stiff 

For players coming off of an injury or returning to golf post-surgery, taking shorter strokes and using shorter irons may also help to prevent knee injury during the recovery process. 

Get Back in the Swing of Things

Knee pain doesn’t just hurt — it also hurts your performance. If joint issues are setting your back while driving your score higher and higher, visit the orthopaedic specialists at Orthopaedic Associates of St. Augustine. Our sports medicine specialists can help you modify your playing style to prevent knee pain and assist in overcoming your painful joint problems. Schedule an appointment today by completing our online request form or contacting our office at 904-825-0540.


Paul Roettges, MDPaul Roettges, MD
A member of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and the American Association of Knee and Hip Surgeries, Dr. Roettges performs hip and knee replacements as well as complex unresolved hip and knee pain.