With over 27 million people enjoying an average of 37 rounds of golf each year, it’s an incredibly popular sport that also comes with the risk of a specific set of injuries to the hands, wrists, elbows, and even shoulders if golfers are not careful with their form and their swing. Like any sport and physical activity that requires repetitive motion, golfers can be at risk for a range of injuries to the upper and lower extremities.
Common Golf Injuries
Whether you’re Tiger Woods, an executive entertaining clients, or a recreational player, using proper technique and warming up before taking the first swing is important to help prevent a hand or wrist injury. While golf may not seem as physically demanding a sport as basketball or soccer, it is equally important for players to warm up before every game and practice (as many as 80% of recreational golfers are estimated to spend less than a minute warming up before each round).
The most common injuries golfers of all levels face are:
Fractures – When a golf club repeatedly hits the ground, it can sometimes lead to a fracture in the hamate bone in the wrist, which causes pain in the heel of the hand.
Sprains – Golf-related sprains typically occur in the wrist, and can be identified by pain and “popping” in the wrist.
Medial Epicondylitis – More commonly known as “golfer’s elbow,” medial epicondylitis causes pain in the tendon where the elbow and forearm meet.
Wrist Tendonitis – For right-handed players, the pain and stiffness associated with tendonitis will occur in the left (leading) wrist, and the right wrist for left-handed players.
Damaged Blood Vessels in the Hands – When the golf club strikes against the palm of the hand on a repeated basis, it can disrupt blood flow to the fingers, causing pain and numbness.
Tips for Preventing a Golf Injury
The most commonly used body parts in a golf swing are the shoulders, lower back, elbows, wrists, and hands. Strengthening the underlying muscles and taking a few basic precautions can help golfers avoid some of the most common injuries.
- Warm up and stretch – It might seem unnecessary and like a waste of time in the moment, but it is necessary and worth the effort in the long run. Less injuries mean more time to play!
- Start out slowly and build up hours spent on the course gradually. Just like runners training for endurance races, golfers who put in too much time too soon after long breaks or when just starting out are at risk for developing an injury.
- Strengthen the core muscles – A strong core will help with everything from balance to keeping the lower back supported and less susceptible to strain and injury.
- Pay attention to posture, and practice good technique on a regular basis.
Contact a Phoenix hand surgeon today!
For more information on minimally invasive treatment options for golfer’s elbow, and to learn more about the Endotech Endoscopic treatment system, contact the Fitzmaurice Hand Institute today at (480) 526-5106 to schedule a consultation.