Common Golf Injuries

Golf requires perseverance, time, effort, skill, and the ability to stay sharp if you want to find success on the course. The last thing you need is pain and discomfort affecting your swing.  

Board-certified orthopedic surgeon Marc Pietropaoli, MD, and the team at Victory Sports Medicine & Orthopedics help patients in the Skaneateles, Syracuse, and Auburn, areas of New York get their game back through his expert diagnosis and treatment of golf injuries

Dr. Pietropaoli also knows that if you’re aware of the possible injuries you may suffer, it’s easier to prevent them from occurring in the first place or seek early treatment to ensure you can keep your tee time on the links. 

To that end, our expert team curated this guide to provide key information about the most common golf injuries and what you can do about them. Read on to learn more! 

What are the most common golf injuries?

The mechanics of the golf swing and the repetitive motion it requires can lead to several types of golf-specific injuries. Here’s a look at some of the most common and what you can do about them:

Back pain

Between the bent stance required to hit the ball and the rotational stresses involved with the swing, it’s no wonder that back pain is one of the most common golf complaints. These mechanics put tremendous pressure on your back muscles and spine, and without the proper preventive stretching and strengthening exercises to keep your back flexible and strong, you could end up out of the game.

Elbow tendonitis

The repetitive swinging, gripping, and flexing motions of golf contribute to the development of tendinitis, or inflammation and injury to the tendons of your elbow. When the pain occurs on the inside of your elbow, it’s called golfer’s elbow (medial epicondylitis), and when the pain occurs on the outer side of your elbow, it’s called tennis elbow

Tendon injuries take time to heal, so it’s important not to return to the game until your symptoms are resolved. Treatment typically focuses on rest to allow healing, decreasing inflammation, increasing muscle strength, and improving the mechanics of your swing. 

Shoulder injuries

It’s not uncommon for golfers to experience pain in their shoulder or upper arms during the game or when raising their arms overhead. Sometimes this pain worsens at night. Most often this pain is due to an injury of the rotator cuff, which can result because of an improper swing, hitting a rock, root, or the ground, and from overuse of the shoulder. Other golf-related shoulder injuries include tendinitis, bursitis, and arthritis caused or exacerbated by the repetitive motions of golf.

Hand injuries and wrist pain

Your hands are at risk of injury during golf because of the high-speed swing and repetitive motions of golf. Hitting your fingers or hands can lead to deformed or broken bones and tendon injuries. Understanding proper grip and swing techniques are the best way to avoid these injuries. 

Your wrists are also at risk for the same reasons and most often cause golfers to experience tendinitis in the wrist. If you notice any pain or tenderness on the top of your wrist, especially at the top of your backswing or on impact with the ball, you may have a tendon injury in your wrist.

Can golf injuries be prevented?

Many golf injuries can be prevented by warming up before your golf game and learning the proper swing mechanics. Take time before you hit the links to warm up, and if you’re new to the game or haven’t learned the proper techniques, invest in a few sessions with a golf pro. 

It’s also important to build a strong foundation if you want to prevent golf injuries. If you don’t already have one, create a regular exercise program that focuses on strengthening all major muscle groups — including your core! — and includes stretching to keep your chances of injury low. 

What should I do if I have a golf injury?

If you have a golf injury, it’s important to seek treatment early to prevent complications and ensure a quicker recovery. Don’t try to play through the pain as you may make the injury worse. 

At Victory Sports Medicine & Orthopedics, Dr. Pietropaoli evaluates your medical history and current complaints, then performs a physical evaluation, ordering any necessary imaging studies or lab work needed to provide you with an accurate diagnosis. 

Depending on your needs, our team creates a customized treatment plan, taking time to address your questions and concerns. If medical intervention is required, Dr. Pietropaoli offers different minimally invasive treatments to help you recover.      

If you’re struggling with a golf injury, get back to the game faster by contacting the team at Victory Sports Medicine & Orthopedics by requesting an appointment online or calling us at 315-303-8352. 

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