When most people go out for a game of golf, they likely aren’t too concerned about injury. It’s not like they are jumping into a game of football or basketball right? In golf most people assume the risk of injury to be pretty low right.
The truth is injuries among golfers are more common than you think. No, you’re not getting the same kinds of injuries you’d see in a high contact sport, but just one round of golf requires the use of every muscle in your body, not to mention hip rotation mobility, pelvic stability, trunk and shoulder rotation mobility, and scapular stability. If your body is out of balance when you go to swing, you can definitely could end up hurting yourself.
Here are some common injuries we see among golfers.
Low Back Pain
Low back pain is the most common injury or complaint among both professional and amateur golfers. In a study of PGA golfers, 33 percent had experienced low back problems of greater than two weeks in the past year. Low back problems can occur as a result of the powerful rotation and extension motion required for a golf swing as well as an overall loss of posture during the swing.
The elbow is the second most commonly injured area in golfers. The two most common problems are medial epicondylitis (also known as golfer’s or thrower’s elbow) and lateral epicondylitis (more commonly known as tennis elbow). Medial epicondylitis is thought to be caused by hitting shots “fat” (hitting the ground first), and over-swinging with the right hand in right-handed golfers may cause lateral epicondylitis.
Inability to stabilize the scapula and core lead to postural instability and overuse of the wrist extensors and/or flexors to compensate for limited stability and mobility. Both of these problems increase with age and frequency of play.
Another commonly injured area in golfers is the shoulder. There are specific muscles in the shoulder that are most active in the swing. These are the subscapularis, the pectorals, and latissimus dorsimuscles. Impingement syndrome, rotator cuff problems, and arthritis are the most common shoulder problems occurring most frequently in the lead arm.
How to Avoid Injury
A 2004 study suggests that increasing the range of motion of lumbar spine (low back) extension and rotation of the lead hip (left hip in right-handed golfers) may decrease the incidence of low back pain.
A proper warm up is also key to avoiding injury. “Warming up before golfing has been shown to decrease the incidence of golf injuries. One survey showed that over 80 percent of golfers spent less than 10 minutes warming up before a round. Those who did warm up had less than half the incidence of injuries of those who did not warm up before playing. Lower handicap and professional golfers were more than twice as likely to warm up for more than 10 minutes as compared to other golfers.” Add citation here – I know it is at the bottom, but it is correct to put it in here as well. Also, we should add that we encourage a functional warm up, meaning (we have that in a myfitnesspal blog).
Many of these problems can be improved by using good swing mechanics. Instructions by golf professionals to improve technique are one of the best ways to decrease your chances of being injured. A regular exercise program that includes core strengthening, stretching, and strengthening can also help decrease your injury rate and improve your efficiency.
Information obtained from:
Here are some self-releases and exercises to include in your dynamic warm-up:
- Lying on your side place the foam roller under your armpit.
- Move up and down allowing the ball or roller to mobilize the soft tissue of the latissimus dorsi.
- Next, move your arm in a punching motion forward and backward, also up and down.
- Continue to move the ball around to tender spots and do these movements until the tension resolves.
- Begin in a sitting position. Place the lacrosse ball under the right glute muscle in the area you wish to release.
- Bend your knees up with your feet flat on the floor, leaning into the lacrosse ball.
- Cross your right leg over the left leg and roll back and forth over the lacrosse ball.
- Repeat in 30 second to two minute intervals on each side.
- Lay on your right side with your right hip and your right knee each at a 90 degree angle and your left leg directly above your right leg.
- Position One: Keep your left foot flexed (toes towards you) and lift your left leg up towards the ceiling,keeping the arch of your foot parallel to the ground. To maintain proper posture, make sure your left hip is stacked directly on top of your right one.
- Avoid rolling backwards. Repeat 10 reps.
- Position Two: Keep your left foot pointed (toes away from you) and lift your left leg up towards the ceiling, keeping the arch of your foot parallel to the ground.
- Maintain proper posture.
- Position Three: Keep your left foot flexed (toes towards you) and rotate your leg so that your toes turns towards the ground on a count of two.
- Return back to starting position. Maintain proper posture. Repeat 10 reps.
- In a push-up position lift hips toward the ceiling forming an upside down V-shape.
- Be sure the back is straight and both legs are straight with the heels touching the floor.
- Both hands should be splayed and facing outward.
- With both arms straight push into the ground so as to open up the armpits.
- In this position bend at the elbows, lowering your head to the ground, then push back to starting position.
- Find a stable surface to sit on.
- Flex your hip and your knee (similar to if you were crossing one leg over the other).
- Place your elbow/back of your forearm (same arm as leg you are releasing) in a sore sport and move your leg up and down.
- Start in the upper groin and move down the leg toward the knee along multiple sore spots.
- Perform on both legs for 3-5 minutes.
- Holding two dumbbells (or a barbell) stand with your weight on your heels and knees slightly bent and forced out.
- Your feet should be turned out at 10-15 degree angle.
- Keep your palms forward, pinch your shoulder blades down and back, and squeeze your gluts.
- Slowly hinge at the hips, keeping your back flat and shoulder blades down and back. Slide the weights down, keeping them just in front of your shins, but not touching.
- Go down as far as you can without starting to slouch (ideally a 90 degree angle) then slowly hinge back up to the start position.
- The weights you use should be light enough that can maintain good form but heavy enough to challenge you during the exercise. Repeat