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What Are The Most Common Golf Injuries?

What Are The Most Common Golf Injuries?
What Are The Most Common Golf Injuries?

The Most Common Golf Injuries Are Overuse Injuries

Despite golf injuries being relatively low incidence if you are an avid player, you may well suffer from a golf related injury at some point during your career.

The majority of golf injuries are overuse injuries, resulting from the repetitive action of the golf swing. Overuse injuries in golf a far more common than traumatic injuries and the two most common golf injuries will be briefly discussed below.

Back Pain And Golf

Back pain is the most common of golf injuries. It isn’t difficult to see why back pain is so prevalent among golfers considering they spend hours upon hours each week in a mildly bent over stance above a ball twisting at speeds of up to 200kph. These combined flexion and rotational stresses of the swing place considerable pressure on the spine and the back pain experienced by golfers can frequently be related to:

  • Soft tissues
  • Lumbar discs
  • Sacroiliac joints
  • Spinal joints (facet joints)
  • Stress fractures
  • Arthritis

Don’t discount the mid back or neck as a source of pain in golfers too, the golf swing action places strain on these areas of the spine also.
If your core muscles are weak, you have an underlying trunk/hip stiffness or have poor postural control/technique through any point of your swing then in unison or combination any of these issues are unfavorable and may put you at risk of developing back pain.

Elbow Pain And Golf

The elbow is the next most common location for golf injuries. Elbow injuries from golf can occur as a result of abnormal ground impact during the swing or due to the grip on the golf club (even caused from pulling the trolley). This excessive gripping or poor swing technique can lead to the onset of “golfers elbow” and “tennis elbow” complaints.
Tendinopathy is the most common golfing condition affecting the elbow. Frequently referred to as “golfers elbow” or “tennis elbow” these names related to tendon complaints felt on the inside and outside of the elbow respectively.
Ironically “tennis elbow” is more common among golfers than “golfers elbow”. However the same can be said for the general population where “tennis elbow” is a more prevalent condition. With these tendinopathies the pain felt may be the greatest at the top of the backswing and/or at impact.

  • The risk of golfers developing tendinopathy increases with age, with golfer’s elbow and tennis elbow being less common in the younger golfer compared to the middle aged golf enthusiast.

The good news is tendinopathy readily resolves with appropriate management. Treatment requires a component of rest, coupled with physiotherapy to help promote healing.  Improving any improper swing/grip mechanics is often beneficial. Tendinopathy generally arises where overuse of the tendons is involved… so be sure to rotate your practice regimen, allowing your forearm muscles and body to get adequate rest.

Tips To Consider When Managing Elbow Tendinopathy In Golf:

  • Ideally practice on real turf rather than rubber mats.
  • Tennis elbow supports may be of use to help manage the pain.
  • To avoid impact with tree roots / rocks… on ball contact during your swing move the ball to a safe spot.
  • Consider teeing-up the ball on fairway shots to avoid excessive ground contact.

Disclaimer: Sydney Physio Clinic provides this information as an educational service and is not intended to serve as medical advice. Anyone seeking specific advice or assistance on What Are The Most Common Golf Injuries? should consult his or her physiotherapist, GP or otherwise appropriately skilled practitioner.

Hayden Latimer is the founder of and principle physiotherapist at Sydney Physio Clinic. Since graduating from Otago University, Dunedin, New Zealand he’s gained wide experience practicing across the globe for over 15 years and is now extremely knowledgeable in helping people reduce discomfort and restore function and mobility.


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