5 Most Common Injuries Faced in Golf
Many people assume golf has a low risk for injury as a low-level activity, but golf injuries are surprisingly common. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports that over 114,000 people are treated in emergency rooms and physicians' offices every year for golf-related injuries, and it's believed up to 20% of golfers get hurt every year. Professionals and casual golfers alike can get hurt, but research indicates that recreational golfers usually sustain more harm than professionals. Most golf-related problems are related to overuse and may be treated with physiotherapy.
Why Do Golfers Get Injured?
Most golfers get hurt due to overuse, poor swing, over-swinging, failing to warm up, or incorrect grip. Overuse is believed to contribute to most problems as the repetitive swinging motion can put significant stress on the same joints, tendons, and muscles, eventually leading to soreness or damage. Many golfers experience issues like hand numbness, shoulder or back pain, and wrist problems from overuse. The following are the five most common problems among golfers.
One of the most common problems among golfers is golfer's elbow, also called medial epicondylitis. This condition is caused by inflammation of the tendon attaching the forearm muscle to the bone at the elbow. Repetitive swinging motions can cause tenderness and even pain inside of the elbow.
The best way to avoid golfer's elbow is strengthening the forearm muscles and reducing the speed of your swing to reduce shock. Squeezing a tennis ball for about five minutes per day is an effective preventative measure against golfer's elbow.
2. Back Pain
It's estimated that about three-quarters of Canadians are affected by back pain at some point, but golfers are especially prone to this problem. The repetitive swinging motion can cause rotational stress on the spine and back muscles. Golfers also tend to spend up to five hours bent over while repeating the same motion.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure; stretching exercises and strength training can reduce back strain while playing.
3. Wrist Pain
The repetition and high speed of the average swing puts the wrist at high risk for an injury. Many golfers experience tenderness at the top of the wrist. Tendinitis is the most common wrist injury among golfers.
4. Neck Problems
Neck issues are especially common among new golfers who are not yet accustomed to twisting their bodies. After hours of swinging, it's not uncommon for the muscles in the neck to spasm and tighten. The best way to prevent neck spasms is a gentle warm-up routine before a game along with frequent breaks.
5. Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis is a common problem among athletes, especially golfers and runners. This condition is caused by inflammation of the plantar fascia, a band of tissue running along the sole of the foot. Heel pain from plantar fasciitis is most common among golfers who wear improper footwear without adequate support.
Golf injuries may be treated with many techniques, including corticosteroids, pain medication, and sometimes even surgery. Physiotherapy is often the first step to help athletes recover from sports-related injuries. A physiotherapist focuses on helping people recover from an injury through exercise, physical therapy, and education.