Repetitive injuries are quite common in golf and usually occur in the soft tissues (muscles, ligaments and tendons) of the lower back, shoulders, hands and wrists. Many injuries can be avoided with proper conditioning and by improving your swing. Some of the major golf injuries are:
These may result from a sudden force applied to the ligaments of the lower back. Poor conditioning, lack of flexibility and overuse can lead to injury and low back pain. An injury of this type can be treated with rest and light activity including stretching and strengthening exercises. Your physiotherapist can perform a proper assessment, then set up a program designed especially for you to help you return to golf. Heat applications are helpful in managing pain.
Torn rotator cuff
The rotator cuff consists of a group of muscles and their tendons that help to stabilise the shoulder and allow arm movements. A torn rotator cuff is a severe golf injury and can seriously limit shoulder movement and strength. Other symptoms are shoulder pain, which is worse at night, and weakness in the shoulder. Raising the arm overhead becomes difficult. A torn rotator cuff requires surgery, followed by rehabilitation.
Shoulder tendonitis, bursitis and impingement syndrome
These are golf injuries that may result from overuse. tendonitis is inflammation of a tendon; bursitis is inflammation of the bursa – the fluid-filled sacs between the tendon and skin or tendon and bone. tendonitis can lead to impingement syndrome as the muscles and tendons become inflamed and swollen. Repetitive overhead arm motions may irritate the muscles, tendons and tissues over time leading to inflammation and impingement.
Symptoms of this condition are slow onset of pain, and shoulder or upper arm pain at night when lying on the affected side. Pain may also be felt with abduction of the arm (moving the arm out to the side) or raising the arm overhead. Shoulder pain at the front or the side is also common and may radiate down to the elbow and forearm. Treatment involves rest, icing and the use of anti-inflammatory medications. Physiotherapy is needed to help return to golf.
This is an overuse injury often experienced by golfers as a result of small tears occurring in the tendons of the forearm. Elbow pain occurs on the inside of the elbow as opposed to tennis elbow where pain occurs on the outside. Pain increases when flexing the wrist and when grasping objects. Treatment should begin with the RICE method to decrease pain, swelling and inflammation. Your physiotherapist will prescribe exercises to stretch and strengthen the flexor muscles. A wrist splint may also prove helpful. Recurrence of this injury is quite common, therefore you may be advised not to return to golf too quickly.
Many golf injuries can be avoided with proper conditioning, warm-up and cool down before and after the game. If you have suffered any type of golf injury or think you may lack conditioning, come in and see us for an assessment. We can help.