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Sport Specific Injuries: Golf

Although we have very mild winters here in the Treasure Valley, sometimes it seems that the cold, damp months go on forever. When the sun finally returns, what better way to celebrate than with a round of golf? By this point in the summer, I hope you’ve enjoyed many great games with friends and have avoided the injuries commonly experienced by golfers.

Nearly all golfing injuries can be boiled down to two causes:

1. Doing too much
2. Doing it incorrectly

The act of swinging a golf club requires the coordination of several specific, stressful movements. Done correctly and with adequate rest between sessions, golf can be played healthfully for decades without issue. But when your swing is done incorrectly, not only does your score suffer, but you will likely experience pain in your back, hips, knees, shoulders, elbows, and wrists. If these problems are not addressed, the pain may become chronic (the long-lasting, stubborn kind) and may force you to stop golfing all together.

The proper mechanics and nuances of a correct golf swing are too in-depth for me to cover here, so I would encourage you to seek out a coach or experienced golfer to help you determine if there are errors in your swing that need adjusted. This will go a long way towards preventing injuries. If you’re already experiencing aches and pains from your golf game, take the following steps.

Take a break from golf. I know it’s difficult to let so much great golfing weather go to waste, but the healing process requires time and rest. How much time and rest you will need depends on the severity of your injury and how long the symptoms have been present (in general, the longer you’ve had the condition, the longer it will take to resolve).
Apply ice to affected areas for 20 minutes, several times a day, to relieve pain and swelling. Don’t quit before 20 minutes has passed simply because it’s uncomfortable. Doing so will minimize the benefits of this treatment.
Engage in gentle stretching and strengthening exercises if doing so does not aggravate your injury.
• When you return to golf, do so slowly to avoid re-injury. At this phase, less is often more.

For a faster recovery, or if your injury is proving a little too stubborn to rehab at home, see your physical therapist. They will help you return to your game more quickly, plus instruct you on how to avoid injury in the future. Have fun on the links, and keep moving, my friends!

– Alan

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