Common Golf Injuries and How to Prevent Them

Back Pain

Aug 11, 2023


Nothing can ruin a great day on the course quite like sustaining one of the most common golf injuries. Golfing is a great sport that can help you get outdoors, connect with loved ones, and really master a skill. Although most people think of golf as a fairly calm and leisurely sport with a low risk for injury, it can be easy to injure yourself if you’re not careful. 

A golf injury can be anything from a sore back to a golfer’s elbow, and while they may not be seen as incredibly severe injuries, they can have lasting implications on your body and health if left untreated. Golfing injuries are a big concern in men’s health specifically, but women are just as likely to get these injuries.

The emergency medical staff here at Complete Care are here to discuss common golf injuries and how you can prevent them. With this knowledge, you’ll be able to “ace” every golf outing so you don’t have any “bogey” days!

What are the most common golf injuries?

What muscles can you hurt playing golf? Turns out, a lot. Even though golf does not require a ton of energy output as high-contact sports do, you’re still working your muscles in very particular ways, and doing so can lead to injuries. Here are some of the most common golf injuries to look out for next time you’re heading to a match.

1. Back injuries 

Think about it: as you’re playing golf, you’re constantly hunching over to place your ball on the tee and twisting and rotating your back to make multiple swings. The bottom line is that your back is putting in a lot of work! The repetition of these motions can strain your back if you are not practicing proper form, warming up beforehand, or stretching afterward.

Should I go to the ER for back pain? A golf back injury can make it difficult for you to play more golf, or do any other daily activity for that matter! If you’re experiencing any muscle weakness, numbness, tingling, aching, or burning sensations in your back, it may be best to seek medical help. These are signs that you may have endured a serious back injury such as a slipped disc that needs to be checked out by a professional as soon as possible to prevent further damage. 

2. Hand, wrist, and elbow injuries (tendonitis)

Much like sustaining a pickleball injury, a golf hand injury is most often acquired in the form of tendonitis, whether it be in the wrist, rotator cuff, or elbow. Tendonitis occurs when the muscle fibers that connect to the bone become inflamed and cause pain and tenderness in the joint. 

Similar to a golf back injury, your arms and hands are repeating the same motions over and over to grip the golf club and swing, absorbing shock each time you do so. This can lead to mild or severe discomfort in these areas if you aren’t practicing proper form or stretching your arms and hands correctly before and after each game. If this pain is not tended to in time, it could limit your ability to play golf to your full potential. 

3. Knee injuries 

Have you noticed that no one golfs with straight legs? Bent knees, specifically the outer parts of your knees, are responsible for stabilizing your hips as you rotate your entire body to carry out a golf swing. However, if you’re putting too much weight or pressure on your knees, this could lead to pain and soreness, or even developing arthritis in the knees.

Because golf is popular amongst the retiree crowd, particularly older men, knee injuries while golfing are a legitimate concern and should be taken seriously. If you’re unsure of whether or not a knee injury is serious, be sure to check out our article describing when to see a doctor for knee pain

4. Ankle injuries 

A game of eighteen holes can take hours to complete, meaning you’re going to be on your feet for a considerable amount of time! Caddying, walking, and swinging all day can put pressure on your ankles which can result in sprains or even tendonitis, especially if your shoes are not fastened or do not fit you properly. Not to mention if Gary has an unpredictable swing, he could end up accidentally knocking you in the ankle! 

If your ankle twists, turns, or rolls in an awkward way while golfing, you should seek medical help. Complete Care offers mild to severe ankle sprain treatment to help you get in, out, and back to golfing in no time!

How to prevent golf injuries 

Preventing common golf injuries is all about paying attention to your body before, during, and after a round of golf. Here are some ways to keep these injuries from happening to you the next time you tee it up.

Do a proper body warm-up

Unfortunately, a proper golf warm-up does not include cracking open a cold one or rushing directly to the first tee box. Sprained muscles are common when trying to immediately crush a golf ball without stretching beforehand.

About an hour before tee time, head to the course and execute a warm-up routine. Stretch your back, arms, shoulders, wrists, torso, hips, hamstrings, and hands. That’s right, stretch everything! Give your neck a few rolls while you’re at it too, and you’ll be nice and limber for your match. 

Practice your swings

After you’re finished stretching, swing the golf club a few times to warm up your muscles and get them ready for the force and twisting. If you can, head over to the driving range and hit some balls. Start out slowly with your smaller irons and then progress all the way to your driver. This will help ease your body into those repetitive movements. Continue to stretch as needed. 

Caddy correctly

Another good way to reduce your chances of sustaining a golf back injury is one of the things a lot of golfers tend to overlook – carrying your bag the proper way. 

If you are ditching the golf cart in favor of walking, as many health-conscious golfers tend to do, you will more than likely need to carry your bag around the course. Buy a pull cart or get a bag that has a stand so you do not have to constantly bend over to get a club. If you think carrying your bag is good exercise when you are on the course, get one with dual straps to lessen the stress on your back.

Rest up after your match

After the match is done (and we hope you won!) be sure to rest and take care of your body. Do some light cool-down stretches when you get home to release some of the tension from the day. Your back, hands, and knees may be feeling stiff, so give those areas extra attention. If you need to ice and elevate any areas, monitor how you’re feeling and see if you need a medical professional to check up on those same areas to help prevent any long-term injuries. 

Complete Care can treat any and all common golf injuries

We call them common golf injuries because they are easier to get than people realize. Even the most experienced golf players can sustain a golf injury every now and then if they don’t warm up beforehand, use proper form throughout the match, and take care of their bodies afterward. 

If you suspect that you may have a golf back injury, golf hand injury, or any other sudden injuries that require medical attention, head to a Complete Care facility for treatment. Our freestanding emergency rooms are open 24/7 and deliver hospital-grade care with shorter wait times than a traditional hospital. 

We know that you want to get in, out, and back to golfing, so trust us with treating your common golf injuries. Visit any of our facilities in Texas (Austin, Corpus Christi, Dallas/Fort Worth, East Texas, Lubbock, and San Antonio) and in Colorado Springs.

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