Protecting yourself During Golf Season

Protecting yourself During Golf Season: Common Golf Injuries

Guest Column by:

Todd Wente, MD

Panorama Orthopedics & Spine Center

Sports Medicine Specialist

 

As fall sports begin and summer wraps up, it is important to be aware of some common injuries that are often forgotten. After a long season of summer golf and with men’s high school golf beginning, here are some tips on golf injuries.


Golf injuries, believe it or not, are rather common, with injury rates ranging from 25% to 60% of players.  Although we see relatively few traumatic injuries compared to other contact sports, the repetitive nature of the golf swing places us at risk for many overuse injuries.  Individuals over the age of 50 and those with a lower handicap (1 to 9) tend to have higher injury rates. In amateur golfers, the three most common sites of injury include the lower spine, the elbow, and the wrist/hand. Knee injuries can also be problematic for golfers.


LOWER SPINE


The spine sees tremendous force during the golf swing.  It has been shown that amateur players create higher forces in the spine than professional players due to aggressive swings with multiple technical flaws. These forces can lead to a variety of spine injuries: paraspinal muscle strains, ligament sprains, bulging or herniated discs and facet joint inflammation.  Particularly in older golfers, underlying arthritis can make them much more susceptible to spine injury. Fortunately, most of these spine injuries can be treated without surgery. Rest, anti-inflammatory medications and physical therapy usually are the first line of treatment. Occasionally, if other treatment options are unsuccessful, a corticosteroid injection (cortisone) may be needed to alleviate the pain and inflammation from these injuries.


ELBOW


Medial epicondylitis, commonly known as “golfer’s elbow”, and lateral epicondylitis, or “tennis elbow”, are the most common elbow problems and they occur in equal frequency among golfers and cause pain on the outside or inside of the elbow, respectively.  Although their names imply “inflammation”, it is actually a degeneration or partial tearing of the tendons that attach to the elbow and control the function of the wrist and hand.  Therefore, unfortunately, over-the-counter anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen may not be helpful for these conditions. Elbow and wrist bracing are a common strategy designed to decrease strain on the tendons.  No single brace has demonstrated consistent superiority in treatment. Rest from the offending activity, ice and physical therapy may be helpful. Many patients may require an injection of corticosteroids or platelet-rich plasma (PRP) to alleviate the pain. Rarely do these conditions lead to surgery.


WRIST/HAND


The repetitive wrist motion involved in the golf swing can result in many overuse injuries.  These typically manifest as tendinitis and can occur in a variety of tendons. One of the more common is de Quervain’s tenosynovitis, which results in pain along the thumb side of the wrist.  In general, tendonitis typically responds to a period of rest, ice, anti-inflammatory medication, and immobilization.  If not, a corticosteroid injection can help alleviate the symptoms. Even with proper mechanics, the wrist is vulnerable as this is the most common site of injury among professional golfers.  Occasionally, chronic stress fractures can develop in the wrist and even acute fractures can occur due to striking unseen roots, rocks, etc. in the ground.


KNEE


Acute knee injuries are unusual in golf but the golf swing more commonly can exacerbate or worsen underlying knee problems due to the repetitive loading and pivoting on the front knee.  The most notable of these is an underlying meniscus tear. Meniscal tears usually cause focal pain along either the inside or outside aspect of the knee. Due to poor blood supply, they often will not heal and eventually many of these tears will require surgical intervention in an active individual.  Arthroscopic meniscus surgery is by far the most common surgery performed in orthopedics today. However, as we have discussed above, hopefully with various medications, injections and other rehabilitative treatments will minimize the pain and keep you making birdies through the golf season…until your knee really becomes at risk when ski season arrives!


PREVENTION

There is debate as to whether warming up or stretching can decrease the risk of injury in golf. As in other sports, strength and conditioning programs have been shown repeatedly to not only improve performance but to decrease injury rates as well. In addition, technique and improved swing mechanics can also decrease injury rates, particularly in the spine. If you are experiencing injuries in these or other places throughout your season, make sure you are talking with your athletic trainers and coaches to ensure you are receiving the proper training and treatments. If they feel it is necessary they may send you to see a sports medicine specialist or physical therapist for further intervention.



Dr. Wente is a sports medicine specialist from Panorama Orthopedics & Spine Center, he works out of the Castle Rock office and sees patients Monday, Wednesday and Friday in clinic. For more information on Dr. Wente visit:
https://www.panoramaortho.com/find-a-doctor/dr-todd-wente/


Website by SchoolMessenger Presence. © 2022 Intrado Corporation. All rights reserved.

In compliance with Titles VI & VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008, and Colorado law, the Douglas County School District RE-1 does not unlawfully discriminate against otherwise qualified students, employees, applicants for employment, or members of the public on the basis of disability, race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, religion, ancestry, or need for special education services. Discrimination against employees and applicants for employment based on age, genetic information, and conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth is also prohibited in accordance with state and/or federal law. Complaint procedures have been established for students, parents, employees, and members of the public. The School District's Compliance Officer and Title IX Coordinator to address complaints alleging sexual harassment under Title IX is Aaron Henderson, 620 Wilcox Street, Castle Rock, Colorado, [email protected], 720-433-1083.

Outside Agencies

Complaints regarding violations of Title VI, (race, national origin), Title IX (sex, gender), Section 504/ADA (handicap or disability), may be filed directly with the Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education, 1244 North Speer Blvd., Suite 310, Denver, CO 80204. Complaints regarding violations of Title VII (employment) and the ADEA (prohibiting age discrimination in employment) may be filed directly with the Federal Office of Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 303 E. 17th Ave., Suite 510, Denver, CO 80202, or the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, 1560 Broadway, Suite 1050, Denver, CO 80202.

NOTICE OF DESTRUCTION OF SPECIAL EDUCATION RECORDS

Special Education records which have been collected by Douglas County School District related to the identification, evaluation, educational placement, or the provision of special education in the district, must be maintained under state and federal laws for the period of five (5) years after special education services have ended for the student. Special education services end when the student is no longer eligible for services, graduates, or completes his/her educational program at age 21, or moves from the district. This notification is to inform parents/guardians and former students of Douglas County School District's intent to destroy the special education records of students who exited special education services as of June 30, 2016. These records will be destroyed in accordance with state law unless the parent/guardian or eligible (adult) student notifies the school district otherwise. After five years, the records are no longer useful to the district, but may be useful to the parent/guardian or former student in applying for social security benefits, rehabilitation services, college entrance, etc. The parent/guardian or eligible (adult) student may request a copy of the records by requesting the records by email to [email protected]