Golf season is finally here! To make the best of the limited time we have with nice weather, we want to make sure you’re prepared to head out on the course without experiencing any pain. Here are six areas of the body, from head to toe, that are prone to golf injuries and some tips on how to avoid injury on the course.
Wrist pain can have many causes, including the repetitive motion of cocking your wrist, especially the leading wrist while swinging. This can strain joints and tendons. Improper form can also cause more stress on joints than is typical. For example, if you hit the ground before hitting the ball with too much force, you can cause damage in the wrist.
You can avoid wrist pain by using proper form and not cocking your wrist too much while swinging. If this issue does not resolve, you can look into a wrist brace for extra stability. A stretching program may also benefit you to keep joints loose while you play.
Your elbow has tendons that stretch from the inside of the elbow to the wrist, and sometimes these become inflamed and cause pain while swinging. This usually happens with overuse, and it’s called “Golfer’s Elbow” because it’s so common with golfers. Golfer’s elbow can also be caused by striking the ground first on your golf swing. When the tendons on the outside of your elbow become inflamed, this is called “Tennis Elbow,” and can result from overuse or overextension during your golf swing and often occurs with tennis.
You can avoid elbow pain by loosening your grip or getting a technique tune-up from a golf pro for suggestions on how to improve your form. Compression straps and elbow braces may also be helpful to provide more support for your elbow. If you find an elbow and wrist stretching program, you can prevent pain before it starts. Resting and icing your elbow can also help to reduce the inflammation that causes pain.
Muscles in your rotator cuff within your shoulder can become inflamed from repeated swinging or improper form. These muscles are small and prone to irritation or tears with an injury.
Avoid shoulder pain by properly stretching to increase flexibility in your shoulder. Strength and endurance exercises can supplement stretches to keep your muscles strong and less likely to tear or get irritated. You can also get your swing checked by a professional if your shoulder pain persists.
Lower Back Pain
Hunching over while putting, improper rotation of your spine while swinging, or carrying your own golf clubs may cause lower back pain. Lifting with your back can be problematic and put unnecessary stress on your lower back, which can cause pain or injury. Common issues in the lower back that cause pain are muscle strains or herniated discs in your spine.
Avoid lower back pain by using proper body mechanics while you swing, which includes turning your body as a whole when you swing instead of just twisting your torso. If you’re carrying your own bag, make sure straps are adjusted to the proper length to reduce stress on your back. A good core strength and flexibility program adjusted to your needs and deficits is usually the best solution.
Knee pain can be caused by your leading knee bearing most of the weight at the end of your swing or twisting your knee during your swing. This can put stress on the ligaments in your knee that keep it stable, which can cause pain if they are stretched too much. Walking on the course for long periods of time can also lead to knee or foot pain.
To avoid knee pain, rotate at your hips instead of your knee when swinging to put less strain on your knees. If you find yourself doing a lot of walking on the course, gel insoles for your shoes can provide extra support for your feet and knees. Improving flexibility in your hips or wearing a knee brace can also help to support your knees while you’re on the course.
Inflammation of the tissues on the bottom of your foot is called Plantar Fasciitis, and can caused by walking the golf course in improper footwear. The pain from Plantar Fasciitis is commonly located in the heel and sole of the foot and can be disruptive to your golf game.
To prevent foot pain, wear proper shoes while golfing that provide good heel and arch support. If your shoes lack arch support, you can try adding an insole to reduce foot strain. You can also prevent this issue by strengthening the muscles in your foot and leg and properly stretching before golfing.
**Another simple, safe way to relieve pain in any of these areas is to use ice. Apply ice directly over the area that’s bothering you in order to reduce inflammation. Just be sure to stop icing if you feel any pain, burning, or see skin irritation!
If you found that you overdid it on the course, sign up for a free consultation to talk with a physical therapist about the pain you’re experiencing and how relieving your pain could improve your golf game!
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