Rotator Cuff Injury in Golf: Symptoms and Exercises

Learn about the causes and treatment of rotator cuff injuries. Rotator Cuff Injury in Golf: Symptoms and Exercises

A rotator cuff injury in golf can be a serious and painful thing. The rotator cuff is actually a combination of four tendons that work together to stabilize your shoulder joint. A rotator cuff injury can happen because of a few different things and is a very common cause of shoulder pain as well.

There are levels of severity when it comes to rotator cuff injuries also and some signs and symptoms that we will go into in this blog. We will also talk about the common causes of rotator cuff injuries in golf and a few exercises that can help you treat and cure the condition as well.

A rotator cuff injury can be mild and build up over time or it can be acute and start suddenly. We will discuss this in detail in our blog. So, grab a bottle of water and join us as we learn about rotator cuff injuries in golf, the causes, symptoms, and exercises together. Ready? Then, let’s go!

What Are the Causes of Rotator Cuff Injuries in Golf?


The injuries to any muscle/tendon combination are called strains. These strains are grouped into three categories. The first being Strain 1, which is the stretching of the fibers with no tears present. The second is Strain 2, which involves the tearing of muscles or tendons. The third category is Strain 3, which involves complete tearing of the muscles and tends in the shoulder.

There are different causes for rotator cuff injuries to develop in golf. We will go into a few of those causes in this next section of our blog.

Causes of an Acute Rotator Cuff Tear

  • This type of rotator cuff injury can be a direct result of a sudden powerful raising of your arm such as in a golf swing or from trying to cushion a fall, which puts a direct impact on the shoulder.
  • If you’re under 30 years old, it takes quite a bit of force to cause an acute rotator cuff tear.

Causes of a Chronic Rotator Cuff Tear

  • These types of tears are most commonly found among people who participate in sports or have jobs that require a lot of overhead activity. Some examples include people who play tennis, golf, baseball, and painters who have to reach over their head often.
  • A chronic rotator cuff tear is often the result of a previous acute tear that hasn’t been allowed to heal properly or hasn’t been treated.
  • Another cause of rotator cuff tear is repetitive trauma to the muscles and tendons of the shoulder with everyday use.
  • Chronic tears can possibly lead to worsening changes in the tendons, which can lead to worse pain and limited mobility as well.

Causes of Tendinitis

Tendinitis, on the other hand, can be caused by the tendons and muscles wearing out with age, this can be escalated with constant use of the shoulder, such as in golf.

Any of these causes and conditions can spell disaster for professional athletes, from golf to tennis and every sport in between. If you feel that you might have a rotator cuff injury due to golf or any other sport or occupation, but you just aren’t sure, read on below for a few of the signs and symptoms of rotator cuff injuries to be revealed.

What Are the Symptoms of a Rotator Cuff Injury?

The symptoms of a rotator cuff injury are usually due to the inflammation and swelling in your damaged rotator cuff. Below we will go into a few of the symptoms you need to look out for.

  • With a rotator cuff injury, the pain usually centers in the shoulder and arm that has been affected. Oftentimes, the pain is worse at night, especially when you’re lying on that shoulder.
  • Most times, the pain stops right below the elbow.
  • The pain is often felt when moving your arm and shoulder a certain way.
  • If your rotator cuff injury is acute, it will start suddenly, and the pain will be super intense.
  • If your rotator cuff injury is due to damage that will occur over time, then the pain may be mild at first.
  • You are experiencing weakness and loss of range of motion in your shoulder and arm.
  • You are hearing a grinding or snapping sound in your shoulder when you move it.

These are a few of the symptoms that you need to watch out for if you feel that you have any type of rotator cuff injury. As a matter of fact, if you play golf or any other kind of sport on a regular basis, you need to look out for these symptoms anyway, because, with the overhead motions and repetitive swinging, it may be just a matter of time anyway.

When Should You See a Doctor for a Possible Rotator Cuff Injury?


Anytime that you have chronic or acute pain in your shoulder or arm, you should contact your primary health care provider for an appointment. You can try the following things first, but if the shoulder is no better afterward, you need to make an appointment right away.

  • Rest
  • Ice
  • Anti-inflammatory medicines

If you get to the point where you are having difficulties performing your day-to-day activities, then you need to see a doctor as soon as possible as well. If reaching overhead is extremely painful or you’re unable to do so any longer, see your doctor. Also, if you can’t participate in a sport you love because of your shoulder and arm pain, you need to be seen right away. On top of that, diagnosing a rotator cuff injury early on increases your chances of treating it and getting back to normal, without having to have surgery performed.

How Do You Prevent a Rotator Cuff Injury?

While it’s not possible to treat all rotator cuff injuries, because accidents do happen, there are a few ways that you can decrease the likelihood of it happening.

  • Perform proper warmups prior to playing golf or another sport.
  • Do shoulder exercises to help your strength.
  • Take breaks when you’re using your arms and shoulders constantly.
  • Never pick heavy objects up over your head

These are a few of the ways that you can try to reduce your chances of developing a rotator cuff injury. However, that doesn’t always help. In our next section, we will go into a few exercises that you can do to help with the symptoms instead.

What Exercises Help with a Rotator Cuff Injury?


Whether you’re a sports fan, an athlete or you’re on the golf course recreationally five days a week, it is possible that you could end up with a rotator cuff injury. You also already know that a shoulder injury can be devastating and are slow to heal, limiting, and very painful. If you have had an injury recently, you should try following what athletes and doctors call the RICE method.





Once the swelling in your arm and shoulder have gone down and the pain has subsided, there are a few exercises that you can perform that can help you prevent and heal the injury as well. We will go into a few of those exercises below.

The Doorway Stretch

This exercise is pretty much what it sounds like. You warm up your muscles by standing in and gripping the doorway on each side. Lean forward and do a light stretch, then lean back and do it as well. It is important not to overstretch during this exercise however, as you don’t want to reinjure yourself.

That’s one of the exercises you can do to help prevent and heal a rotator cuff injury. Below we will list a few others so that you can research them and decide which ones are best for you.

  • Lawnmower pulls
  • The reverse fly
  • High-to-low rows
  • Side-lying external rotation
  • Pendulum exercise
  • Passive internal rotation
  • Passive external rotation
  • Crossover arm stretch
  • Towel stretch

When it comes to these types of exercises for a rotator cuff injury, you don’t need to just start doing them. Instead, you need to make an appointment with your primary health care provider for diagnosis and treatment. Together, you should be able to come up with an exercise routine that will help you and get you back on the course in no time at all.

How Rotator Cuff Injuries Are Diagnosed


There are a couple of different ways your primary health care provider will diagnose your rotator cuff injury. Those ways are listed below.

  • Physical examination
  • Ultrasound
  • X-rays

This concludes our blog on rotator cuff injuries, the signs and symptoms, causes and a few exercises you can do for them. Never ignore the symptoms that you have, talk to your doctor right away instead. Until next time, stay safe everyone.


E Medicine Health: Symptoms and Signs of Rotator Cuff Injuries

Simply Health Today: 14 Signs of Rotator Cuff Tear

Cure Joy: 10 Exercises for Rotator Cuff Injuries



Pin for later