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Avoiding golf injuries

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What are the most common injuries in golf, and what can you do to avoid them?

People of all ages and levels of experience can enjoy playing golf. But, as with all sports, there is a risk of injury.

According to a review article published in the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, overuse and poor form are the most common causes of golf-related injuries.

The article highlights a study of 703 golfers, of whom 643 were amateur golfers and 60 professionals. Over the course of two golf seasons, 82.6% of the reported injuries sustained were due to overuse, while 17.4% were single-trauma events.

The authors noted that high-handicap (amateur) golfers tend to generate more power in their swing by using their upper extremity strength. This results in an inconsistent golf swing and makes these golfers more susceptible to back injuries. Meanwhile, low-handicap (professional) golfers have greater balance and flexibility, which enables them to use their body rotation to generate club speed, thus allowing the upper body to follow through. This reduces their risk of injury.

These are most common golf injuries, according to golf club shipping specialist Ship Sticks:

1. Back pain

2. Rotator cuff injury

3. Tennis elbow and golf elbow

4. Knee pain and damage

5. Tendinitis in the wrists

It’s important to get these injuries treated early, or they can result in increased long-term musculoskeletal problems.

As always, prevention is better than cure.

“Good conditioning and a well-rounded, golf-specific exercise programme are paramount to help prevent these injuries,” commented Dr Ioannis C. Zouzias, lead author of the review article, and an orthopaedic surgeon specialising in sports medicine and shoulder surgery.

A golf-specific exercise programme can increase strength and stability in the lower back, shoulder muscles and hips, as well as improve flexibility in the hip joints, along with the upper and middle spine, says the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

Warming up for at least 10 minutes before a game will also reduce the risk of injury.