In spite of some rain, May weather has warmed up and Detroit area golfers are gratefully back on the links. And even though golf is considered a low-impact sport, any serious golfer will tell you that golfers can experience a significant number of golf injuries. A golf injury is rarely sudden or “acute”. Rather golf injury typically stems from incorrect or overuse of the joints, making golf injuries more subtle, usually occurring over time.
The most common golf injury that hand doctor Uzma Rehman, MD sees in her Detroit area office are those due to back and shoulder strain when swinging a club, which impacts the patient’s shoulders, elbows or back.
In this article our board certified hand doctors share their tips for avoiding golf injuries – so you can continue enjoying the game you love for years to come!
Golf Injury Due to Poor Flexibility
Warming up before playing golf can help prevent golf injury. Although less than 20 percent of golfers take the time to warm up, it’s proven to help improve flexibility and limit a player’s risk of injury. In fact, it doubles a player’s odds of enjoying their game without hurting themselves.
It’s harder to achieve a proper swing plane if the body has limited range of motion (ROM). Having good flexibility can seriously reduce stress on the joints and muscles that create a perfect swing. So it’s worth taking the time to improve flexibility with warm up exercises.
Warming up only takes 10 or more minutes and should be done before practicing or playing golf. It can be as simple as doing jumping jacks or taking a brisk walk that engages the whole body. Stretching can also help warm up muscles and joints in the shoulders, spine, pelvis, arms and hands to increase flexibility. Once warmed up, a player can start by swinging their club in gradual arcs to improve their body’s range of motion.
Golf Injury Due to Repetition and Overuse
The number of golf rounds or practice balls struck per week has a direct correlation with a player’s percentage of golf injury. Golf is a repetitive sport. The repeated high velocity swing associated with golf effects a player’s entire body from their ankles to their neck. In truth, it’s the second most common reason hand doctors consult with injured golfers.
When players consult with Dr. Rehman in her Detroit, MI office she suggests they balance their golf routine with other forms of exercise to prevent overuse of the joints. These could include swimming, bicycling or walking along with any other aerobic exercise that can help improve stamina while on the course.
Golf Injury Due to Poor Swing Mechanics
Poor swing mechanics is the third most common golf injury. A poor swing technique can place too much stress on the player’s elbows, shoulders and back. This increases their risk of injury, regardless of their age.
The most efficient, powerful swing is one that engages all the muscle groups smoothly, from the player’s ankles to their wrists. If a player uses a specific part of their body to create power, naturally they are more prone to injuries in that area. For instance, if a player overemphasizes their wrists when swinging, they might develop muscle strain on the inside of the forearm, commonly called golfer’s elbow.
Successful golfers are consistent in their swing tempo. And it doesn’t need to be fast. The harder or faster a golfer swings, the more stress is put on their joints. When consulting in her Detroit, MI office Dr. Rehman encourages patients to use a relaxed, easy swing to minimize risk of injury. In addition, golf shoes with short cleats allow more movement in the feet and ankles, and should be worn in place of long cleats, which create more stress as they anchor feet to the sod.
Time and money invested in lessons from a golf pro are well worth the expenditure. A golf pro can identify and correct poor swing position and mechanics – to save the golfer from serious and chronic medical issues down the road.
Whether golf is a new interest, a casual pastime, or a lifelong passion use these tips to protect yourself from golf injury – so you can play the game you love for years to come.
Top Detroit Area Golf Injury Doctor
If you are suffering from a golf injury causing pain in your fingers, wrist, elbow or arm, contact board certified hand Detroit area hand surgeon Doctor Rehman for a comprehensive evaluation and consultation. As with most medical conditions, early detection, awareness, and a prevention or treatment plan is the most effective way to combat the effects of a golf injury.
Doctor Rehman will assess your individual situation, and prescribe the treatments that are best for your condition.