Golf seems like a gentle sport. Players don't get punched or tackled. Although the inherent dangers of golf aren't obvious, golfers may still be injured and sidelined by pain.
Luckily, with a little prevention and good form, most golf injuries are avoidable. According to experts, the biggest issue with golf is the image that it's sedentary. People don't realize that players need good flexibility, strength, and proper technique or they could get hurt.
The list of potential golf injuries may seem extensive to some. Many of these ailments result from some aspect of the swing, which involves balancing an explosive forward motion, violent muscle contractions, and the long lever arm effect created by the force of the golf club. Other injuries may result from improper form and from the repetitive nature of the sport. Some common golf injuries include:
For athletes who have experienced a golf-related injury, UPMC Center for Sports Medicine’s orthopaedic surgeons and board certified physical therapists will help to speed recovery and restore proper function.
Training Tips and Techniques
To help prevent golf-related injuries, most professional golfers follow structured fitness and exercise programs. Maintaining fitness is an integral part of a healthy and competitive golf game.
Beyond being fit, experts suggest players should work with a golf professional to learn proper technique. Good form puts less stress on the body, and helps to improve flexibility and agility. A poor swing can increase the risk of injury.
Before even taking their first swing, golfers should warm up and stretch their muscles. Some ideas for warming up include:
- Taking a brisk five-minute walk before playing
- Walking the first fairway
- Focusing on the lower back, hips, legs, and shoulders while stretching prior to and after each round
Comprehensive Swing Screening
Success in golf depends on mastery of the basics. An efficient and mechanically sound golf swing can help players achieve optimal results and help avoid injuries. Because of this, UPMC Sports Medicine offers comprehensive golf swing screenings, conducted by physical therapists certified through the Titleist Performance Institute (TPI)™. These screenings are offered to both physical therapy patients and golfers of all levels interested in achieving a swing that can help improve their game.
The golf swing screening analyzes a player’s swing biomechanics, physical fitness, movement quality, current health, and medical history to provide an individualized and comprehensive plan. This focus on mechanics can help reduce the risk of future injury, and may even decrease or maintain a golfer’s handicap. The screening can also identify faulty movement patterns, such as altered stability and mobility problems, and provide a plan to correct these and other golf swing impairments.
Each screening is performed over two consecutive vists, and is available for a $250 fee.
For more information or to schedule a comprehensive golf screening, contact physical therapist and certified TPI professional Ben Read via email, or call 412-432-3700.