By Dr. Raymond J. DeLorenzi
Everyone knows that our great state is a haven for golf; however, did you know that there are roughly 13 golf courses in Brevard County alone? Our local courses provide an amazing opportunity for people of all ages to enjoy this sport throughout the year. (Please note: We here at the DeLorenzi Orthopaedic Center (DOC) do consider golf a sport and not just a “hobby.”) Besides the standard concerns of being out in the Florida sun for extended periods of time, there are a lot of injuries that can happen on the course. These injuries can be rather severe because when they occur, they often affect areas of the body that are used on and off the course including your ankles, knees, hands, wrists and back. A small tweak on the course can end up leading to more than just a bogey on the scorecard if not assessed and managed correctly.
In the interest of keeping you out playing with your friends and family, we have outlined a few of the most common overuse injuries and ways to avoid them.
These types of injuries mainly happen due to the repetitious nature of the sport. Usually golfers will feel the stiffness or pain in three core areas due to overuse or strain. These areas include the lower back, the elbows and the wrists.
Lower back pain is a common complaint among golfers. The rotational stresses of the golf swing can place a considerable amount of pressure on the spine and muscles. Normally poor flexibility and unsound swing mechanics will cause this type of injury.
Focusing on the elbows, the most common golf injury is known as “Golfer’s Elbow” — clinically known as medial epicondylitis — and it is mainly an inflammation of the tendons that attach the forearm muscles to the bone at the elbow. Normally, this occurs due to poor swing mechanics, such as swinging too hard or hitting shots “fat.”
The wrists are also very sensitive to the golfer’s swing motion. The lead wrist is most commonly injured due to the structure of the golf swing. Normally, pain and tenderness will be seen in the wrist flexor and tendons if there has been overuse or strain. If you experience pain while extending or bending the wrist, it might be time to take a few days off.
Simple ways of avoiding and treating these types of injuries:
Stretch and warm up — show up to your tee time at least 30 minutes beforehand in order to give yourself enough time to stretch and take a few practice swings before going to the first tee. If you play in a more rigorous fashion or more often, it would be beneficial to try yoga classes,
as this type of motion will help your blood flow and
Slow down — a lot of injuries are caused by swinging too hard: let the club do the work. Keeping a smooth pace throughout your swing will help you avoid overexertion and generally you will see a more consistent outcome of your shot.
Proper Technique — finally, take some time and get a few lessons from your local PGA certified professional. Learning the proper way to swing will help you score better as well as keep your joints and muscles in proper alignment.
Usually, all of these injuries can be treated with ice, rest and simple anti-inflammatory medication. However, if the pain is severe or continues for more than a week, consulting your sports medicine professional is recommended.
DeLorenzi Orthopaedic Center (DOC)
7000 Spyglass Court, Suite 220
Viera (321) 622-8622 | docdelorenzi.com
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