Tips to Minimize Golf-Related Injuries

Swinging the club on the open green, hitting the perfect shot and playing in the warm sun are just a few things golfers love about hitting the links. Golfing can be a treat for both the mind and body. However, an injury to the bones, muscles or joints can cast a big shadow over the day. That is why the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) recommends following the proper techniques to prevent golf-related injuries.

AAOS stated that according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission:

  • There were more than 103,000 golf-related injuries treated in doctors' offices, clinics and emergency rooms in 2007, which incurred a total cost of approximately $2.4 billion in medical, work-loss, pain and suffering, and legal fees.
  • Golfers most often suffer from hand tenderness or numbness; shoulder, back and knee pain; golfer's elbow; and wrist injuries, such as tendonitis or carpal tunnel syndrome.

"People often think of golf as a relatively safe, low-injury game," said Bobby Chhabra, MD, orthopaedic surgeon and member of the Academy's Leadership Fellows Program. "Golfers -- especially beginners, who haven't learned proper techniques yet -- are more susceptible to injuries from overuse and poor mechanics. It's important for golfers to regularly participate in a muscle conditioning program to reduce the risk of common golf injuries."

Because orthopaedic surgeons not only treat, but try to prevent injuries of the bones, joints and muscles, the AAOS offers the following tips to help prevent golfing injuries:

  • Newer golfers should take lessons and begin participating in the sport gradually.
  • Practice on real turf instead of rubber mats, when possible.
  • Dress for comfort and protection from the elements. Make sure to wear the appropriate golf shoes: ones with short cleats are best.
  • Do not hunch over the ball too much; it may predispose you to neck strain and rotator cuff tendinitis.
  • Avoid golfer's elbow -- which is caused by a strain of the muscles in the inside of the forearm -- by performing wrist and forearm stretching exercises and not overemphasizing your wrists when swinging.
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