Master Golf Injuries
The 78th Masters winner will look out at Augusta National and don the famous green jacket but the world’s number 1 player won’t be involved due to injury!
Not only is Tiger Woods, the world #1, missing the greatest golf tournament of the professional calendar following recent back surgery, four of the of the world’s currently ranked top five players are suffering injuries. Henrik Stenson, ranked worlds #3 will play with wrist pain, #4 Jason Day has required taping to play recently and has resorted to a steroid injection to treat his thumb injury, whilst 3 times winner and current worlds #5 Phil Mickelson has an abdominal muscle strain.
Although golf is not recognised as a sport associated with injury, studies have shown injuries do occur and potentially greatly effect a professional golfers career and an amateur golfers enjoyment of their sport.
Male and female amateur golfers are more likely to sustain back and elbow injuries while their professional counterparts are more likely to injure their back or wrist. Amateur female players are more likely to suffer elbow injures where males are more likely to suffer back pain problems
Research showed that of over 80% of golfing injuries are overuse in nature with only 17% being caused by a single episode of trauma.
Common golfing injuries:
Back problems are suffered by 52% of males and 29% of female golfers, resulting in time missed from the course and even from work and other activities.
The twisting forces of a golf swing have been found to result in injury but back pain isn’t always related to the golf swing; a failure to warm up or an awkward position carrying or pulling a golf bag are often to blame. Back injuries can vary from muscle strains, to spinal joint and disc injuries to compression of nerves causing sciatica symptoms of pain and tingling shooting down the legs and feet. It is essential that diagnosis, treatment, pain relief and a rehabilitation plan is accessed ASAP.
Wrist injuries have been found to account for up to 20% of all golfing injuries in amateurs and up to 27% of injuries in professionals. The wrist is an anchor point between the body and club with the joint having to move through a wide range of movement whilst experiencing high forces during a swing. Injuries can occur by repeatedly hitting of a ball or even accidental hitting of other objects as it isn’t unusual for a rock to be accidentally struck whilst playing out of the rough, (or for amateurs to make contact with the ground before the ball). Whilst playing out of the rough, long grass can wrap around the hosel of the club (where the club head joins with the shaft) causing injury during the stroke to get a ball out of the rough and on to the middle of the fairway.
Overuse injuries may occur from an alteration in swing. Tendons attach muscles to bones and may be injured during swinging the golf club. Golfers have been found to be especially at risk of injury if the golfer takes divots from the fairway with their stroke. As the club hits the ground tendons, on the palm side of the forearm may be injured. Pain is experienced on the little finger side on the wrist. Beginners are more susceptible to tendons injuries on the back of the wrist due to a faulty swing. Amateurs are often to “cast” the club where there is early unlocking of the wrist during the downswing of a swing causing a loss of control and pain is experienced on the little finger side of the back of the wrist.
Hand bones may be fractured which is thought to be due to trauma from the butt of the end of the club handle to the leading hand (the left hand in a right handed golfer). Investigation of such injuries with x-rays and MRI imaging is required.
Tendon injuries also occur at the elbow. Pain experienced from tendon injury where they insert onto the inside of the elbow is called golfers elbow and tendons inserted onto the outside of the elbow is known as tennis elbow. Interestingly tennis elbow has been found to be 5 times more likely than golfers elbow in golfers!
“Golfers elbow” occurs due to repetitive trauma to the tendon caused by the trauma of amateurs hitting the ground or obscure objects with their club head with professional golfers more likely due to repeatedly hitting out of the rough and the golfer experiences pain and tenderness on the inside of the elbow. Tennis elbow is usually due to overuse, at a site where the tendon inserts into the outer aspect of the elbow. An overly tight grip of the club or a change to the grip of a club with excessive practicing may often be responsible.
A program of specific tendon exercises, clasps and injection therapy or dry needling may be advised and are available to be undertaken out at Sports Medicine NE to help you return to your golf pain free.
The shoulder must travel through a wide range of movements during the golf swing so excessive practicing may often result in shoulder pain problems. The lead shoulder is most commonly injured (the left shoulder in right handed golfers) with a range of injuries possible.
The acromioclavicular joint (ACJ , the joint between the collar bone and shoulder blade) can be a site of wear and tear which often eases with a simple steroid injection. Nipping of tendons within the shoulder or a cartilage tear may occur and it is essential that a correct diagnosis is made followed by a treatment plan to prevent worsening of shoulder problems and allow as little time as possible to be missed from golf.
Knee and Hip injuries-
Hip problems are suffered by more elderly golfers with an average age of 62 years in one medical study, with knee problems occurring earlier when aged 55 years old, shoulders at 52 years old, back when 50 years old and elbows at a young 41 years of age. Osteoarthritis is often a cause of hip and knee problems but with appropriate treatment using pain killers, steroid injections or hyaluronic acid injections to replace the fluid within a worn joint along with a comprehensive exercise program, golf shouldn’t be prevented. Golf may be used to help prevent worsening of many symptoms as the exercise provides strengthening of supportive muscular structures around the hip and knees without even considering the heart benefits gained.
At Sports Medicine NE we are able to provide golfers with correct diagnosis, investigation and treatment of golf injuries reducing a players time away from their golf. We offer a range of treatments including injection therapy to help golfers return to their sport with a management plan aimed at curing and reducing the recurrence of their problems