Avoiding Common Early Season Golf Injuries

May 3, 2023
Early injuries

It’s not a myth. Taking time to properly stretch and warm up before you start to play your round of golf will help prevent injury, especially in the beginning of golf season. 

Common early season golf injuries include injuries to your back, to your elbow and to your shoulder — all injuries that can really impact your ability to play the game you love.

Your back

You can injure your back swinging a golf club, picking up a ball or even carrying your bag. 

A sprain or a strain of the lower back is a common golf injury. A sprain or a strain of the back can lead to more chronic pain that can interfere with your golf game.

It’s important to buy the correct clubs, use the proper techniques and warm up to prevent painful back injuries.

Your elbow

Golfer’s elbow is a common injury, often considered an overuse injury, that causes pain where the tendons of your forearm muscles attach to the bump on the inside of your elbow. Ultimately, that pain may spread, impacting your forearm and wrist. This makes it difficult for you to swing your golf club. 

In addition, you may also feel stiffness in your elbow, weakness in your hands and wrists and numbness or tingling in your fingers if you have golfer’s elbow. 

Your shoulder

Rotator cuff injuries are common in golfers because of shoulder rotation and repetitive shoulder movement. 

Your rotator cuff keeps your arm in your shoulder socket. It is a group of four muscles, and they come together as tendons, covering the head of your humerus. Your rotator cuff attaches the humerus to the shoulder blade, helping you lift and rotate your arm.

Between your rotator cuff and the bone on the top of your shoulder, there is a lubricating sac called a bursa. This allows your rotator cuff to move easily when you move your arm. When your rotator cuff tendons are injured, this bursa can become painful.

What can you do?

At the beginning of every season, take time to work on the mechanics of your swing. Ensure that you are using the proper technique before you hit the course. 

This is where Middlesex Health can help. Through its Center for Golf Performance, Middlesex Health can help evaluate how your body moves in relation to your golf swing to help improve your swing mechanics in order to prevent injury. The therapists are Titleist Performance Institute medical level 2 certified and ready to help you at any time of year — not just during golf season.

In general, stretching and ensuring that you pause to warm up can go a long way in preventing sports injuries — both big and small, says John Rossi, a Titleist Performance Institute certified therapist and Middlesex Health’s outpatient rehabilitation supervisor. It’s also important to listen to your body. “Don’t do too much too soon,” he says. “If you feel pain or discomfort, slow down or stop what you are doing. Continuing will only increase your risk of injury.”  

And if you do get injured, Rossi says to evaluate the extent of the injury and see a doctor if necessary. “Whatever you do, don’t continue to play,” he says. “That could potentially make your injury more severe and shorten your golf season.”

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