How To Prevent Golf InjuriesMay 31, 2012 at 9:17 am | Posted in Coastal Orthopedics, Pain Management, Sports Medicine | 1 Comment
Tags: golf injury, pain management, prevention
Grip, Check Your Stance, Align…And Read This Before You Swing
While many people consider golf a low-level physical activity, there is a potential risk of suffering serious injuries. For golfers, a chance of winning a U.S. Open is over one in a billion, but the chance of developing back pain is better than one in two. Unfortunately, at least 50% percent of all people over the age of 50 will report having had some back pain at least once in their lives and this number is even higher in those who play golf.
No matter what kind of pain a golfer has, a slow and consistent approach to prevention is a must.
- Develop an ergonomic swing. It will help with control, distance and lessen stress on your joints and spine.
- Take time before you begin to stretch. This is one of the most important steps to avoiding injury. Gentle back and neck stretching will allow for warming up of the joints and ligaments. It will also allow for muscle memory to take over your swing mechanics, thus avoiding awkward swings and “bump-and-runs,” which can put undue stress on your lower back.
- Start your training session on the practice range with the club with which you are most comfortable, and swing at 25-50% of force capacity until you feel that you are maximally warmed up.
- Strengthen the forearm muscles when you’re off the course. One easy way to do this is to squeeze a tennis ball five minutes a day. You can also use a lightweight dumbbell, lowering the weight to the end of your fingers and then curling the weight back into your palm. Do this ten times on each hand and then do wrist curls as well.
- Lastly, for those with chronic or intermittent back pain, lumbar stabilization and trunk strengthening exercises are vital. Poor flexibility and muscle strength can cause minor strains that lead to more severe injuries.
Here’s some easy exercises to help strengthen your back muscles from the American Society of Orthopedics:
- Firmly tie the ends of rubber exercise tubing. Place it around an object that is shoulder height (like a door hinge). Standing with your arms straight out in front of you, grasp the tubing and slowly pull it toward your chest. Release slowly. Perform three sets of 10 repetitions, at least three times a week.
- With the rubber tubing still around the door hinge, kneel and hold the tubing over your head. Pull down slowly toward your chest, bending your elbows as you lower your arms. Raise the tubing slowly over your head. Perform three sets of 10 repetitions, at least three times a week.
In case of acute pain (something that starts suddenly without warning; swinging, for example) it is important to immediately stop playing. Rest, ice, and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications (if approved by your physician) may help. If the pain does not go away within the first four weeks, or if it is associated with numbness or weakness, a visit to a medical doctor may be necessary.