How do I minimize my risk for golf injuries?
William Brainard,MD, is an orthopedic surgeon on staff at Banner Estrella Medical Center. His office can be reached at (623) 327-4144.
Question: I recently started playing golf, and I often hear about injuries that people suffer while playing. What are some things I can do to minimize the risk for injury?
Answer: Golfers most commonly sustain back injuries. Therefore, golfers, as other with athletes, should warm-up before starting to practice or play. This includes a period of stretching to allow muscles to heat-up and become more flexible.
Some of the best exercises golfers can do to minimize back injuries include: pulling a knee up towards the chest to stretch out the back muscles, and modified sit-ups—sit-ups with your knees flexed and slightly touching your knees with your fingertips.
Golfers usually wear cleats or another type of shoe that provides a firm stance, thus translating all moments of force from your swing and rotating, to your back. The first thing I recommend in addition to stretching and conditioning your back is to swap your cleats for shoes that will allow room for slight movement when you over-swing or when you make a bad pass at the ball. For example, consider wearing cross-trainer or tennis shoes. This will eliminate much of the stress on your back. It may also slightly change the path of the ball, but it is certainly preferable to chronic back problems.
Check with your doctor if you experience soreness that persists for more than two or three days. If you have back pain that is accompanied by pain that radiates down the leg, or is accompanied by any numbness, tingling, or weakness in the legs, it is an indication of a possible disc injury and should be checked by an orthopaedic specialist. Most back injuries can be treated non-surgically with medications and rest.
If you have a question for a medical professional, you can e-mail them and check future issues of the Southwest Valley Republic for answers.