A day on the golf course should be something that you brag about for weeks and months to come, not something that requires weeks or months of recovery. By understanding a few common golf-related injuries, you can take steps to reduce your risk and prevent unnecessary pain. Golf can benefit you physically, mentally, and socially. These benefits carry over into other aspects of your life. So enjoy this popular sport to your fullest by doing some preparation before you walk onto the course.

Overuse Syndromes and Injuries

Golf is a welcoming sport for people of all ages and all skill levels. With it being a low impact sport, many people overdo it without realization and develop injuries gradually without taking proper steps to treat and heal them.  A 2003 study published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine found that 82.6 percent of golf-related injuries are due to overuse syndromes that can develop into more serious, chronic musculoskeletal problems. This study found that the age, sex, skill level, and even body mass (BMI) of players had no bearing on their risk of injury.

The most significant factor in both the frequency and severity of these injury types is the amount of time players spent warming up prior to play. Golfers who warmed up for more than 10 minutes before play reported far fewer injuries than those individuals who skipped warming up or warmed up for less than 10 minutes.

Most Cases Heal Well

According to WebMD, more than half of all athletic-related injuries doctors see are repetitive motion injuries. About 25 percent of these injuries are serious enough to keep golfers off the course for more than a month. You should also keep in mind that repetitive occurrences of bursitis and tendonitis lead to long-term problems and chronic pain. Do not ignore any of the following symptoms:

  • Tenderness on a specific muscle, joint, or area of a bone
  • Swelling at joints
  • Reduced range of motion and onset weakness
  • Numbness or tingling

Prevent further damage by stopping the activity that caused the problem and follow the R.I.C.E. treatment method, as outlined by the Mayo Clinic.

Prevention

The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIH) recommends you begin any new physical activity slowly and take these steps to reduce your risk for bursitis or tendinitis:

  • Wear gloves, in addition to using grip tape and other padding. This will increase your gripping surface.
  • Have a regular strength training program to strengthen muscles around your joints.
  • Practice proper stance and swing technique. Many amateur golfers do not feel golf lessons are necessary for themselves. The price of lessons from a professional are well worth the cost, if they can help you avoid overuse injuries or sprains.
  • Always warm up and stretch before play. Pay particular attention to areas that are stressed during your game: back, shoulders, and arms.
  • Make gentle mobility exercises a part of your normal routine.

Proper Equipment and Supplies

Always check the weather forecast before heading to the course. Dress for comfort and according to the forecast. Choose golf shoes with short cleats. The long cleats dig in and increase strain on your knees and ankles depending on the course.

Just like with any other sport, be sure you drink ample amounts of water and adequate sun protection throughout your time outside. You’ll want to stay hydrated in order to keep your strength up for the 9 to 18 hole trek. If you do not drive a cart, most courses will require about four kilometers of walking. Pulling a golf bag cart is far less taxing than carrying the bag on your shoulders for the entire duration. Alcohol consumption is going to increase the effects of the sun, along with your risk of dehydration and a potential accident. Golf cart accidents are not uncommon and can are often caused by intoxicated driving and reckless maneuvering, all of which can be prevented. Relax, enjoy the time with friends, and drink responsibly.