Golf is considered a low impact activity but due to the repetitive nature of swinging, injuries can still occur. Golf carts and outdoor elements also add risk.
Common Golf Injuries:
Most golf injuries are overuse injuries. The repetitive, one-sided motion of the golf swing causes these injuries. Injuries to muscles most commonly involve the back, arms, and legs.
Injuries such as hand tenderness or numbness can happen over time from excess swinging or immediately from hitting an object with the club, such as the ground or a root. A fracture of the one of the small wrist bones (hamate) may occur when the club strikes the ground.
Overuse injuries to the wrist, such as tendonitis, or cartilage tears, can occur with too much play or poor swing technique.
Golfer’s elbow is one of the more common overuse injuries in the sport. It is inflammation of the muscle attachments at the inside part of the elbow, where the muscles in the forearm that flex the wrist attach.
Back pain is another common injury in golfers because of the repetitive motion of swinging. Stretching and maintaining good range of motion is important to prevent injury. Back pain should not be ignored as it can be a sign of stress fracture.
Hip and Knee:
Swinging a golf club creates high-speed torque through the hips and knees, which can lead to overuse injuries. Proper swing mechanics and stretching can help prevent this.
Before You Play:
The first step to injury prevention in golf is learning to swing properly with good technique. New golfers should consider lessons from a golf professional to create good habits from the beginning.
Stretching is an important part of injury prevention in golf. Lack of flexibility will limit your swing and cause increased stress on your back and other joints. Appropriate stretching of the shoulders, back, and legs should be done before any round of golf or session at the driving range.
Additionally, working on simple strengthening exercises of the back and forearms can prevent the common overuse injuries. It is important to continue these strengthening exercises in the off-season as well.
Golf does not require protective equipment like most other sports. The basic equipment is a set of clubs, gloves, and golf shoes. Given the length of time spent outdoors, it is important to also remember sun protection for skin and eyes, such as sunscreen, hat/visor, and sunglasses.
Injury Prevention Tips:
- Be sure to stretch before playing golf. Simple stretches of the back, shoulders, and legs can prevent injury.
- Always hit a few balls before starting a round. Start with a wedge and work up to the driver.
- Remember that golf carts are not toys. Drive carefully and keep feet inside the cart. Be aware of other drivers and players around you.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Keep your head up on the course- pay attention to your surroundings to avoid getting hit by a golf ball.
- Protect yourself from the sun with sunscreen and a hat or sunglasses.