Common golf injuries and how to prevent them

How golfers can protect their health on the course

Golf may seem like a relatively low-risk sport for injuries. However, the combination of rapid movements, twisting your body, standing for prolonged periods, and heat, can all lead to pain.

Anyone who plays golf could develop an injury – from casual weekend golfers to the trophy-yielding pros. That’s why it’s important to prioritize prevention.

In this article, we will identify some of the most common injuries acquired from golfing, and explain how to avoid them.

The most common golf injuries

Golfer’s elbow

You may have heard of ‘tennis elbow’ – as you can guess, this injury works similarly. Golfer’s elbow leaves you with pain in your forearm muscles on the inside of your elbow. It may also affect your forearm and wrist.

Unfortunately, most cases come naturally from golfing a lot – more specifically, from swinging repeatedly. It’s pretty easy to heal from golfer’s elbow, though. Normally, you’ll need a bit of rest and ice to recover.

Back pain

From pulling a muscle to getting a herniated disc, there are plenty of ways to get a sore back from golfing. In minor cases, it’s recommended that you rest to heal a sore back. If your back pain persists, see a doctor or chiropractor immediately.

Rotator cuff injury

Your rotator cuff is located around your shoulder joint – it’s a set of muscles and tendons that keeps your arm bone in its socket. When it becomes torn or injured, it can cause your arm to ache – specifically when you extend your arm or reach out.

Treatment depends on the severity of the injury. You may simply need rest for minor injuries, and the most severe injuries may require surgery.

Wrist pain

It’s not rare to face wrist pain if you golf regularly. If the pain persists, you may have wrist tendinitis. This injury causes your wrist tendons to become torn and inflamed, causing pain.

In most cases, this can heal with rest and ice, though swift movements should be avoided during healing.

Knee pain

Golfers are often surprised to find that their knees are sore after a long stretch of swinging. The reason this happens is that swinging golf clubs for an extended period of time puts significant pressure on the knee. Since the motion required to hit a ball requires both pressure and a twisting movement, it can hurt the tissue in your knee.

In most cases, this can heal with rest and ice, though swift movements should be avoided during healing.

Tips for avoiding golf injuries

Stretch early and stretch often

Whenever you’re doing any physical activity – golfing or otherwise – it’s important to stretch for a few minutes both before and after the activity.

For golfers, stretching both your arms and legs for a few minutes can make a huge difference. Try a few stretches for each limb, and hold these stretches for at least 20 seconds.

Go for regular walks

Walking can support your wellness in a number of ways. During long days on the golf course, a quick 5-10 minute walk can keep your limbs moving in a way that encourages them to work smoothly – plus, it gives your body something to do other than the repetitive swinging motion.

Consider your clothing and equipment

To limit pain and discomfort, wear loose clothing that doesn’t restrict your body. While a hat can limit the irritating effects of the sun, it can also be linked to discomfort.

One of the most common ways a golfer can injure their back and neck is by carrying their clubs or other equipment on their back. Use a caddy whenever possible, or carry them with your arm, hanging your equipment below your waist.

Drink lots of water

Staying hydrated can help the organs in your body do their job – which includes alleviating pain. Drinking water is particularly important if you’re on your feet all day at the golf course.

Don’t swing too hard

Practicing your form will make you into a better golfer – but it’ll also protect your body. Remember not to swing too aggressively. This motion puts your wrists and knees at risk for the injuries listed above – plus, you’ll have less control over the ball. Being careful is a win-win for your skills and your health.

Need help? see a physiotherapist

If you find yourself struggling with soreness after golfing, you may consider seeing a physiotherapist. These trained professionals can help you restore your comfort and mobility by coming up with a variety of treatment strategies. From stretches and exercises to things to try while on the golf course, a physiotherapist may be able to help keep the pain far away during your golf getaway weekends.

READ MORE: How massage therapy helps with posture and body alignment


Contact Elysian Wellness Centre today for more information about physiotherapy treatment. Our team of professionals is experienced and dedicated to restoring your comfort.

Johanne Gordon - Registered Physiotherapist

Johanne is an experienced, fluently bilingual physiotherapist who graduated in 1992 with a Bachelor of Science in physiotherapy with magna cum laude honours from the University of Ottawa.

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