Medical Advice When Playing Golf
While nothing replaces the medical advice of your physician, the words of wisdom from a few of your golfing cohort always lends a hand to keeping yourself healthy on the links. While their experience and knowledge may not be certified and accredited from a medical school, they are more likely to come from the trials and tribulations of life. So, what have they learned.
The game of golf requires repetitive and awkward movements in the body. While it is not the movements that are unsafe for our bodies, it is the fact that we are accustomed to moving in motions that are straight planed and not twisting. Even in exercise, we do not always train our bodies in a multiplane direction. What that means is, we train ourselves in the forward and sideway direction, however, not combined.
Over time, as we expose ourselves to these “awkward” movements over and over, there comes a time when our body can no longer compensate for the strain and injuries occur.
Some of the most common injuries that golfers will face include lower back and knee injuries, stemming from the violent twisting motions of a swing. However, another very common injury, caused by a combination of twisting and overuse is “golfer’s elbow.” A form of tendinitis, or inflammation of the tendons, “Golfer’s Elbow” can make playing any sport uncomfortable; even unbearable.
Unlike “tennis elbow,” which is recognizable by pain in the outside elbow area, “Golfer’s Elbow” will create pain and tenderness in the inside, or medial side of the arm. While these two are very common ailments and are often mistaken for one another, it is more prevalent to experience “tennis elbow” in golf, than “golfer’s elbow. Regardless of which one it is, there are preventative measures that can help ease the pain and keep it from happening again.
“Golfer’s Elbow” can likely be traced back to the overuse of the tendons in the forearm, which are active when gripping, twisting of the arm, and flexing of the wrist (WebMD). With each repetition of use, slight damage occurs to these tendons, eventually causing damage bad enough to rouse pain.
Besides overuse of the tendons, which can only be remedied by rest at the first sign of trouble, “Golfer’s Elbow” can be manufactured by using poor fitting equipment. Using a club which has a grip that is too large for you will cause stress on these tendons due to having to overcompensate your grip for the poor sizing. This will increase the likelihood of injury with continued use.
Also, using a club that is too heavy for you will also require a firmer, harder, overbearing grip, again, exposing these tendons to overwork and injury. It is important to remember that these tendons are accustomed to being used for dexterity tasks, not weight bearing endeavors.
Finally, poor technique is another mechanism by which the tendons can be overused and left to be vulnerable. When determining the cause of any pain associated with an activity, do not neglect to have your golf posture, stance, and swing evaluated for poor habits that may be the culprit.
There are many ways that you can prevent the onset of “Golfer’s Elbow,” including changing your equipment choice. Clubs have become much lighter in the modern day, as graphite shafts have reduced the weight of a standard club.
Since “Golfer’s Elbow” can also be aggravated because of jarring motions, make it a habit of avoiding hard surface impacts with the tip of your golf club, including at the driving range or out on the course. Minimizing club versus turf impacts can prevent many stressors on the tendons in your forearms.
When it comes your technique, be mindful of how hard you are gripping your club. In addition to the effect over-gripping will have on the performance of your game, it will also have a detrimental effect on the health of these tendons. It is recommended you relax your grip or get proper fitting equipment. Also, keep the jerky movements out of your swing. Slow and smooth transitions, whether starting your backswing, or preparing your downswing, are healthier, safer, and better for your scorecard, as well.
If you are having difficulty with the grip on your club, keep in mind that even outside of winter, golf gloves can keep your hands safe and secured to the club, providing additional comfort and control. The assistance of a golf glove will allow you to loosen up on your grip, which relaxes your wrists, elbows, and shoulders, encouraging a looser muscular system. When your body is looser and less rigid, injuries are less prone to occurring, as are poor tee shots and putts, resulting for a win/win situation.
Finally, always avoid impacting your club on something hard, whether it be a driving range mat, a rock, a tree, or any other solid object. This impact can cause severe injury in many areas of your body. This is also consistent with suddenly stopping your swing while you are actively down swinging your club. Unless an emergency exists, always allow yourself to complete a initiated swing to avoid exposing yourself to these devastating injuries.
Sometimes, despite all our efforts to keep ourselves health and physically prepared, we suffer from the aches and pains of everyday living. Sometimes, these aches and pains will not go away, and will keep nagging us. Instead of allowing this nemesis to keep you away from the game you love, make it a habit to stretch and warm up all your muscles before engaging in the activity, and strengthen those muscles through exercise. Simple isolated exercises can be performed to address those nagging areas.
As you are strengthening your body back to health, you can also rely on a golfer’s elbow brace, which can be applied to the arm or elbow of the suffering appendage. While not guaranteed to be one hundred percent effective on every golfer, elbow braces are found by some to be relieving of the pain. The elbow braces or wraps work to add additional support to the tendons as they are stressed while performing under pressure.