Injuries are common especially when it comes to sports and related activities. It will be a grave mistake to think that a game like golf will not have any major injuries since it is perceived to be ‘slow game’.
What does it take?
Mastering the game of golf requires a lot of practice and surely a lot of skill. From the offset, it might not look like a rigorous game but it surely has all the elements of a game that require a lot of physical exercises. Even professional golfers have experienced some form of injury at one point or another which caused them to have to take a few months off. What you might want to know is that such injuries can actually be avoided.
Primary contributors to injuries in golf
Like many other types of sporting activities, there are certain factors that are most commonly known to cause injuries among golfers. This include:
- Swinging mistakes – When you do not get your swing right and repeatedly making the wrong ones, it can cause strain at specific parts of your body
- Overdoing – this will occur when you over practice or over-train on a certain movement. Once you get the hang of something, it would be advisable to then take a break and move on to the next.
- Warming up – This is a no-brainer where you need to warm up substantially before playing any sport.
- Grip – Before you even start the swing, make sure that you have got the grip right. This will allow you to tighten the club and keep it close to your posture. Incorrect gripping will cause serious harm.
So, what are the most common injuries?
This is one injury that is very common among golfers. The pain will occur around the upper arm or shoulder areas. It could happen during the swing or when you place your hand over your head. This is another injury that can happen due to a bad swing and when you take a deep divot. From Rotator Cuff, it could lead to more serious conditions like bursitis and tendinitis. You need to improve your swing in order to avoid Rotator Cuff. If you have this condition, you need to take drugs to fight the inflammation. At some point, you might have to consider surgery too.
Back pain or ache
Back pains are very common among adults and more so for those in the middle-age group. For golfers, this is among the most prominent injury because it is the back that gets the most strain all the time. When you make rotational stress of the swing, it creates a lot of pressure, especially on the spine. If that is not enough, the golfer actually maintains a bent-over stance for hours.
To prevent this, take breaks in between. Use the 40-20 rule. 40 minutes swinging and 20 minutes break. If it is not a tournament, you can afford the time.
When you place some form of strain on the weaker knee, it can create pain. This commonly happens at the beginning of a swing and if the force is too strong, it could cause the ligament to tear. If you have a history of arthritis, then knee problems will become more prevalent. Wearing knee protective guards will only reduce the risk but if it happens to you, you need to consult the doctor for treatment and even physiotherapy.
Tendinitis in the Elbows
This refers to some form of irritation and inflammation of the tendon tissue and it occurs mostly around the elbow and its surroundings. Tendinitis in the Elbows is also known as the ‘tennis elbow’ which is prevalent with the hand that holds the racquet. When the injury occurs around the outer part, it is known as the golfer’s elbow.
Take note that as you age, your risk of tennis elbow is higher. This is one form of RSI or Repetitive Strain Injury. If you have a bad swing, your risk becomes a lot higher. It is quite difficult to prevent the tennis elbow but once you feel some form of pain, then you need to get it treated. Most treatments will focus on helping to decrease inflammation, strengthening of muscles and healing process.
Problems in various parts of the body
Golf is a game that requires repetitive movements. As you would know by now, the swing is imperative and a good one is critical. If you start with a bad swing, it could cause all types of problems. Among them:
- Wrist, hand and fingers – Pain could happen around the top of the wrist around the backswing. Tendinitis is most common and it could lead to swelling. Meanwhile, the same problems could be experienced around the other parts like your fingers too. A condition called HHS or Hypothenar Hammer Syndrome is a more serious problem. Relaxing the hands is one way to reduce the risk and getting your grips right is necessary too.
- Neck – If you are not used to twisting your body as much as you have to in golf, it could lead to problems around the neck. Since you are going to be in a position for hours, it could lead to spasms around the neck area. Warming up is essential here
- Ankle and Foot – this is very much like your knee and the hands. Your back foot must give more pronation during the swing as compared to the front. If you lose your balance or footing during a swing, it could be painful. This is most common when you have an uneven surface or when you are at the bunker. Sprains and twists are common occurrences.
- Hip – Perhaps the more mobile body part that needs some focus. It is very volatile and can handle a lot of stress. The swing will imply a lot for your hip requiring the extension and detracting movements. This is done repeatedly. If you are not careful, you could cause major problems for your hip. Even top golfers have had hip replacement injuries.
The Rule of Thumb to avoid injuries
Ultimately, prevention is always better than cure. There is no way to stop injury from happening as accidents can occur at any time. But knowing where and how to reduce the risk will let you be more mindful when you play the game. Warming up properly remains the best way around this. Fine-tuning your swing and getting the right posture will help to reduce the stress on all the body parts involved.