Two Most Common Golf Injuries and What to Tell Your Patients (And Yourself)

There are an estimated 25 million golfers in the United States. Every time they step onto the course they spend hours walking in the sun and placing stress on their backs and nearly every joint in their bodies. It should be no surprise if one of these patients make their way into one of your Emergency Departments or Urgent Cares. Below are two of the most common golf injuries as well as pearls on how to prevent/treat them:

Low Back Pain/Strain:

  • Most common golf injury!
  • Cause: Repetitive rotational stress from golf swing, poor flexibility, inadequate muscle strength, ineffective warm-up, or a combination of above causes.
  • To prevent back injuries, try these 7 exercises recommended by the Mayo Clinic using just your body weight. Mayo Clinic: Back Exercises in 15 Minutes Per Day
  • Don't forget plenty of stretching and warming up before the round of golf!
  • Treatment may also consist of NSAID's, acetaminophen, and muscle relaxants.

Medial Epicondylitis, "Golfer's Elbow"

  • Inflammation and damage to the tendons which connect the forearm muscles to the bone.
  • Presents as pain and tenderness to the medial side of the elbow
  • Cause: Overuse injury from repetitive motion of golf swing. Can also be caused from swinging too fast which delivers larger "shock" to the elbow upon contact.
  • To treat or prevent Golfer's Elbow, main goals are to strengthen forearm muscles and slow down swing mechanics.
  • Treament may also consist of NSAIDs, acetaminophen
  • Strength Exercises:
  1. Squeeze a tennis ball. Squeezing an old tennis ball for 5 minutes at a time is a simple, effective exercise that will strengthen your forearm muscles.
  2. Wrist curls. Use a lightweight dumbbell. Lower the weight to the end of your fingers, and then curl the weight back into your palm. Follow this by curling up your wrist to lift the weight an inch or two higher. Perform 10 repetitions with one arm, and then repeat with the other arm.
  3. Reverse wrist curls. Use a lightweight dumbbell. Place your hands in front of you, palm side down. Using your wrist, lift the weight up and down. Hold the arm that you are exercising above your elbow with your other hand in order to limit the motion to your forearm. Perform 10 repetitions with one arm, and then repeat with the other arm.

Other Common Golf Injuries:

  • Knee Injuries
  • Rotator Cuff Injuries
  • Wrist Injuries
  • Hand and Finger Injuries
  • Neck Injuries
  • Foot and Ankle Injuries
  • Hip Injuries
  • Sunburn