For being a low-level exercise, golf can be responsible for plenty of injuries. In fact, the year 2015 saw 131,000 ER and clinic visits by people who were injured playing golf.
“Far and away the most common injury we see is golfer’s elbow, or medial epicondylitis,” Dr. Hussain says.
“Stress and overuse can lead to pain from the inside of the elbow down the front of the forearm.”
Golfer’s elbow and its cousin, tennis elbow, cause pain and inflammation in the tendons that connect the forearm to the elbow.
While golfer’s elbow runs from the inside of the elbow to the top of the forearm, tennis elbow is felt along the outside of the elbow to the underside of the forearm. Both respond to rest, ice and strengthening exercises.
Other injuries can be caused by poor form.
“People try to overswing and hit the ball too hard,” Dr. Hussain says.
“It transmits a lot more shock or a lot more stress through the club and up the arm. It can lead to issues with the shoulder or elbow or hand or wrist.”
The lower back is also at risk, particularly for those with a poor swing.
“When rotational stresses of the golf swing place a lot of stress on the lower back muscles, it can lead to pain as well,” Dr. Hussain says.
The key here is to condition your muscles, and learn the proper swing for you.
“Go to the driving range to focus on your form as opposed to how hard you hit the ball,” he advises.
Of all the golf injuries they see at ORA, Dr. Hussain says the most severe often happen in golf carts.
“The Number 1 rule is to keep your feet inside the cart,” he says.
“Players have broken ankles and feet when they’ve gotten caught underneath moving golf carts. They also fall out and break their arms. Golf carts may be smaller vehicles, but they deserve the same respect and precautions as larger vehicles.”
Dr. Hussain says the best way to treat golf injuries is to prevent them in the first place. Here are his top 4 home conditioning exercises:
- Squeeze a tennis ball for 5 minutes to strengthen arm muscles
- Do forward and reverse wrist rolls holding a lightweight dumbbell to strengthen and condition arm muscles
- Loop rubber tubing around a door hinge that’s about shoulder height, stand with your arms straight out in front of you, and pull tubing slowly toward your chest before slowly releasing to strengthen back muscles
- Loop rubber tubing around a higher hinge, kneel and pull slowly down from overhead, bending your elbows out to the side as you lower your arms to your chest, and slowly release to strengthen back muscles