Introduction to Injuries in Golf
You might expect that because golf is a non-contact sport it is a safe sport. Believe it or not, golfers are at risk of injury every time they play or practice. Recent studies show that golf, in fact, carries a reasonably high risk of injury. These studies tell us that the back is the most frequent site of injury for golfers. The most frequent mechanism or cause of injury seems to be overuse and poor physical condition.
Overuse injuries are injuries that occur as a result of a weak link that already exists. This can be as a result of a ‘niggle’ left unattended as a result of a previous incident. This incident may have seemed insignificant, just like a slight ache in a muscle or joint. However, the end result is that it eventually gets worse and results in the golfer having enough pain to stop playing.
What most of these studies are actually saying is that the weak link in most golfers is the back. Many people have less than optimal posture which, often, puts pressure or strain on the back. This is partly why we emphasise exercises that assist in having better posture. Add, to this scenario of less than optimal posture, the poor sitting positions that we are all inclined to assume either in the office, at home, or driving the car. Assuming a poorly held posture for an hour or so and you have the potential for a posture-activity related injury when you engage in vigorous exercise and, believe it, a strong tee off without a warm-up is now potentially a major injury risk.
Add to this, the fact that many golfers bend poorly when they pick up a golf ball – yes this seemingly innocuous action can result in a ‘twinge’ that can persist and eventually become a serious problem.
The bottom line is that many golfers are at risk of injury every time they play or practice. The authors of these studies on golf injuries generally agree that the injury incidence can be reduced through:
- Completing thorough warm-ups
- Engaging in a conditioning programme
- Correction of poor swing mechanics
The muscles most frequently injured in golf include the muscles about the back and sides. These are two large muscles that are taxed when the golfer addresses the ball and throughout the golf swing. If you have back pain I strongly recommend that you visit your doctor or physiotherapist so that you can start an individualised programme of rehabilitation. However, prevention is always better than cure, and engaging in suitable warm-up and strength training exercises will help you build a stronger back and core to help reduce the risk of injury occurring.