All About Golf Injuries: Causes and Treatment
Ask most outsiders, and they would classify golf as a low-intensity, casual "hobby". In reality, avid golfers know this isn't the case.
Yes, it's true that the nature of golf makes it so that regardless of your age and skill, you can still enjoy a leisurely round with friends or family.
But make no mistake, golf is a sport - and like any sport, it comes with its risks of injury.
Thankfully, most golf injuries are relatively minor. But that doesn't mean they're not painful, or that they can't sideline you from the game for a significant amount of time.
In this blog post, we talk about what the most common injuries are, how you can help prevent them, and the best ways to assist in your recovery if you do experience one.
What Are The Most Common Golf Injuries?
Who reading this hasn't experienced back pain at some point in their lives? It's one of the most common human ailments, and it certainly doesn't discriminate against golfers.
For golfers, though, back pain can be especially troublesome. That's because the golf swing is an incredibly unnatural movement for the human body. When you factor in that most recreational golfers have desk jobs and don't work on their flexibility, it's no wonder that back pain is such a common golf injury.
The good news is that there are plenty of things you can do to help prevent back pain, or at least lessen its severity and frequency.
We'll discuss some strategies in that section below.
Knee pain is another common injury that golfers experience. Just like with back pain, knee pain can be caused by the unnatural movement of the golf swing.
What's more, if you have any preexisting conditions in your knees - even something as seemingly innocuous as arthritis - playing golf can aggravate those issues and cause pain.
Being overweight can also contribute to knee pain, as the extra weight puts additional strain on the joints.
Fortunately, there are some things you can do to help prevent/manage knee pain, or at a minimum, reduce the intensity of the pain.
Tendinitis is a catch-all term for any inflammation or irritation of a tendon. In golfers, the most common form of tendinitis is elbow tendinitis, or "golfer's elbow".
Golfer's elbow is caused by the repetitive motion of the golf swing - specifically, the twisting and torqueing that occurs in the elbow when you hit the ball.
This can lead to small tears in the tendons, which in turn leads to pain and inflammation.
As a result, limited use of the arm is a common symptom of golfer's elbow.
While it might not seem like a big deal, if aggravated or not dealt with accordingly, golfer's elbow can actually lead to more serious issues such as nerve damage.
Rotator Cuff Injuries
The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that attach the shoulder blade to the upper arm bone. These muscles and tendons work together to keep the shoulder joint in place and allow for a wide range of motion.
Because the golf swing involves a lot of shoulder movement, it's not surprising that rotator cuff injuries are common among golfers.
There are a few different types of rotator cuff injuries that golfers can experience, the most common being tendinitis and impingement.
Tendinitis of the rotator cuff is caused by the repetitive motion of the golf swing, just like with Golfer's elbow. However, instead of affecting the elbow, it affects the shoulder.
Impingement occurs when the rotator cuff muscles and tendons become trapped or pinched under the bone of the shoulder joint. This can happen when you swing too hard or if your shoulder is not properly aligned.
Both of these injuries can be extremely painful and limit your range of motion. Even something as simple as raising your arm above shoulder level can be excruciating.
If you think you might have a rotator cuff injury, it's important to see a doctor right away. These types of injuries may require physical therapy or even surgery to heal properly.
The wrist is another body part that is commonly injured in golfers. The most common wrist injury is tendinitis, which is caused by the repetitive motion of the golf swing.
Tendinitis of the wrist is extremely painful and can make it difficult to grip the club properly. In severe cases, it can even prevent you from being able to swing the club at all.
If you work on a computer for many hours daily, the risk of tendinitis of the risk with carpal tunnel syndrome also goes up.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that occurs when the median nerve, which runs through the wrist, becomes compressed. This can lead to pain, numbness, and tingling in the hand and wrist.
While tendinitis and carpal tunnel syndrome are both common injuries among golfers, and treatable, prevention is always better than cure.
Hip injuries are not as common as some of the other injuries on this list, but they can still occur. The most common hip injury in golfers is tendinitis, which is again caused by the repetitive motion of the golf swing.
Tendinitis of the hip is extremely painful and can make it difficult to walk or even stand. It can also make it difficult to swing the club properly, which can obviously impact your game.
If you think you might have hip tendinitis, it's essential to see a doctor right away. This type of injury may require physical therapy and extended bed rest to heal properly.
Injury To The Neck
Injury to the neck doesn't happen that frequently, but it could escalate very easily. Because the golf swing involves a lot of twisting and turning, it's not uncommon for golfers to experience neck pain.
Neck pain can range from a dull ache to sharp, shooting pain. It can also cause headaches, dizziness, and even nausea.
Neck injuries are more common in new players who aren't used to the twisting motion of the golf swing. However, even experienced golfers can suffer from neck pain if they swing too hard or if their form isn't perfect.
Older people with arthritis are the next most frequent group to develop a neck injury.
What Are The Contributing Risk Factors For Golf Injuries?
Injuries can happen to anyone, and without notice. They don't discriminate. However, there's no doubt that some people might be more likely to get injured while playing golf.
Some of the risk factors for golf injuries include:
Poor Swing Form
As with any type of exercise or physical activity, mastering good form is key to preventing injuries. When you swing the club, your body should be in alignment from head to toe.
If your form is poor, you're more likely to put unnecessary stress on your joints and muscles, which can lead to injuries.
Experiencing a Previous Injury
If you've injured yourself in the past, you're more likely to do so again. This is especially true if the injury was in the same area (i.e. shoulder, wrist, etc).
Even if you've fully recovered from an injury, your body might not be as strong as it once was. This can make you more susceptible to re-injury.
Having Poor Flexibility
If your muscles and joints aren't very flexible, you're more likely to get injured while playing golf. This is because your body won't be able to move as freely, which can put a strain on certain areas. The neck, lower back, and shoulders are particularly vulnerable if you have poor flexibility.
Not Warming Up Properly
Warming up before playing is essential, especially if you have poor flexibility. A good warm-up will help to increase your heart rate and prepare your muscles for exercise. Sometimes, just being able to get the blood flowing to your muscles can make a big difference in how you feel during and after your golf game.
Playing On a Poorly Maintained Course
This one isnt necessarily under your control, but it's worth mentioning nonetheless. If the course you're playing on isn't well maintained, there's a greater chance that you'll run into hazards such as divots, rocks, and tree roots. These things can cause you to trip, fall, twist an ankle, or worse.
Wearing Improper or Ill-fitting Golf Shoes
Golf shoes aren't just for style - they serve an important function. Wearing shoes that are too small can cause blisters while wearing shoes that are too big can make it difficult to maintain your balance.
Additionally, if your shoes aren't designed for golf (i.e. running shoes), you're more likely to slip or trip while swinging the club. This could lead to a fall or other serious injury.
Using Clubs That are The Wrong Size
Just as with golf shoes, using clubs that are the wrong size can also lead to injuries. If a club is too long or too short, you won't be able to swing it properly. This can cause you to lose your balance and put a strain on your muscles and joints.
Some players have never been professionally fitted and don't even know what is the optimal size for their height. As soon as you can- whether you are casual or more skilled, make an appointment to get fitted. It will be worth it, we promise!
What Are The Treatments For Golf Injuries?
The treatment for a golf injury will depend on the specific type of injury you have. However, there are some general things that can be done to help relieve pain and promote healing.
This is probably the most important treatment for any type of injury. When you first injure yourself, it's important to take a break from whatever activity caused the injury. This will give your body time to heal and prevent further damage.
Applying ice to an injured area can help to reduce swelling and pain. Be sure to wrap the ice in a towel or cloth so that you don't injure your skin. You should apply ice for 15-20 minutes at a time, several times a day, especially during the first week.
Much longer than this can have the opposite effect and slow down healing.
The vast majority of people do not get enough collagen protein in their diet today. This is because collagen is not obtained from typically muscle meats, but from bone, cartilage and innards. The standard American diet does not prioritize the consumption of these types of foods, and a deficiency is unfortunately common.
This is a problem because collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies and it's responsible for supporting the health of our skin, hair, nails, joints, and gut. When we don't have enough collagen, we are more susceptible to injuries.
There are many ways to increase your collagen intake, such as consuming bone broth and more organ-based meat, but the most convenient and reliable would have to be a collagen supplement.
Plus, since you should be taking collagen in every day, we really don't see anyone consuming any of those sources on a daily basis.
We recommend Radiance collagen peptides to speed up recovery and even prevent injury in the first place.
When Can Golfers Return To Play After An Injury?
The good news is that most first-time injuries are mild, and you can expect to make a full recovery within 4-6 weeks. However, it's important to listen to your body and not push yourself too hard.
If you try to return to play before your injury is fully healed, you could end up making the injury worse. This could lead to a longer recovery time or even permanent damage.
We also recommend you first work on fixing any potential deficiencies that may exist, as this can help to prevent injuries in the future.
If you're unsure whether or not you're ready to return to playing, it's best to consult with a doctor or certified physical therapist. They will be able to give you a professional opinion and create a tailored plan for your recovery.
And remember, prevention is always the best medicine.