While ya may not be takin’ a hit like a football player or makin’ a dive for it like in baseball, golf is still a sport and, like any sport, there are a few injuries that come with the territory. So the question is, what types of aches and pains can ya watch out for and prevent, and how can you make the most out of your recovery if ya do happen to hurt yerself out on the course.
First off, let’s take a look at the top three most common golf injuries:
- 1. Back Pain
Since the golf swing puts a lot of stress on a golfer’s back, it’s no surprise that back pain is one o’the most common problems for golfers. Back pain in golfers can be mechanical, disc-related, arthritis related, or even caused by a stress fracture.
2. Golfer’s Elbow
Golfer’s elbow is an inflammation, soreness, or pain on the inside of the upper arm near the elbow.
3. Shoulder Pain
Shoulder pain in golfers can be caused by a lot of different reasons – rotator cuff tendonitis, a tear in the rotator cuff, A-C joint arthritis, or instability in your joints.
So what causes most golf injuries and how can you prevent them? The majority of golf injuries are caused by overuse, mis-hits or duffs (hitting the ground during the swing), poor swing mechanics, over-swinging, skipping the warm-up, twisting the spine during your swing, or an incorrect golf grip. The easiest way to prevent injuries is to make sure that you have good technique. This means you practice proper swing mechanics and club grip, proper conditioning, and use the proper equipment. But let’s look at how to avoid and prevent the specific injuries good ol’ Scratch outlined earlier.
- Preventin’ Back Pain:
When you swing a golf club, your lumbar spine goes through a variety of stresses and forces including compression and rotation. You can reduce the stress that swingin’ causes by:
1) Rotating the shoulder and hip the same amount durin’ the backswing
2) Keepin’ the spine vertical (meanin’ perpendicular to the ground) durin’ the follow-through (and avoidin’ hyperextension of the spine)
Alleviatin’ Golfer’s Elbow:
Preventin’ elbow injuries is easy when you follow these simple tips:
1) Selectin’ larger club grips
2) Usin’ softer grips
3) Usin’ a neutral grip
4) Selectin’ graphite shafts to lessen vibration
5) Selectin’ the correct club length (the end of the club should extend slightly beyond the palm of the leading hand)
6) Selecting irons with large heads and “sweet spots” to lessen vibration
7) Taking a lesson with a pro to select equipment and refine your swing
Avoidin’ Shoulder Pain:
Shoulder injuries in golfers are generally due to repetitive overuse syndromes of the rotator cuff muscles. The muscles of the shoulder joint undergo various forces durin’ yer swing. To reduce shoulder pain and injuries:
1) Shorten the backswing slightly (end with the club head at a 1 o’clock rather than 3 o’clock).
2) Strengthen your chest and back muscles to generate more power in your swing. More defined and stronger muscles are less prone to injury.
3) Strengthen your rotator cuff and scapular muscles to reduce the risk of injury
4) Take a swing lesson with a pro to refine your swing so it is more fluid and technically correct – a better swing reduces the risk of injury
You can also avoid injuries by following a good stretching regiment before you take to the course. If you find yourself facin’ a serious injury, it’s generally advisable to rest for a day or two, apply heat and/or ice alternatively, and take pain medication. Medications like ibuprofen or naproxen can help decrease inflammation and reduce your pain. If ya find that yer pain still ain’t going away, it might be time to treat yerself to a massage or even consult your doctor about your lingerin’ aches. Got a handy-dandy home remedy for yer golfin’ woes? Leave it in the comment section!