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Aiming for a Perfect Round of Health

screen-shot-2018-03-07-at-10-00-18-amWith every sport comes the risk for

injury. Jeffrey S. Stephenson, M.D., sports

health physician with Norton Orthopedic

Specialists, treats athletes and has seen

it all. He shared the most common golfrelated

injuries and steps you can take to

play pain-free this season.

Lower Back Injuries

Hopefully this golf season, the only back that

needs fixing has to do with your backswing. The

most common golf-related injuries involve the

lower back. The back is more engaged in the game

than you might think. It comes into play during

the rotation in your golf swing.

“The transition when you take your arms back

to swing through – your power from your upper

body – is linked to your lower body through the

core musculature,” Dr. Stephenson said.

Injury prevention measures: Your core and

lower back work together to help you power

through your swing. That’s why it’s important to

build the foundation for a strong core.

“You can’t have a weak lower back and expect

to be able to play golf on a regular basis,” Dr.

Stephenson said.

He suggests a regimen of isometric exercises

to help strengthen the back, such as low back

extensions and crunches. An active warm-up

ahead of your round of golf also is very important.

Elbow Injuries

“There are a lot of gripping mechanics that have

to happen to be able to get a golf club through

the ball and hit a ball consistently well, which

can cause elbow injuries,” Dr. Stephenson said.

“Golfer’s elbow” is a common overuse injury to

the soft tissue in the tendon or the medial elbow.

This injury can happen with repetitive swinging

of the golf club.

Injury prevention measures: Stretch the affected

tendons through simple wrist stretching exercises.

It’s also important to make sure you are swinging

properly.

“If you are concerned that you are having

consistent pain with your swing, it may be

worthwhile to have your swing checked out by a

golf professional,” Dr. Stephenson said. “If there

are certain mechanical issues with your swing, it

makes you more susceptible to injury.”

He says many elbow injuries are caused by

hitting the club into the ground, which can put

strain on the tendons.

Shoulder Injuries

Your golf swing could cause strains, pain and

inflammation in your shoulder. The most common

shoulder injury is rotator cuff impingement,

which is inflammation around the rotator cuff

tendons. The rotator cuff is made up of muscles

and tendons that help stabilize the ball and socket

joint of the shoulder.

“You can get inflammation around those

tendons, which causes an impingement and

can be painful,” Dr. Stephenson said.

Injury prevention measures: The best way to

prevent a golf-related shoulder injury is to establish

a good warm-up routine.

“Take the time to carefully swing through the

club, rather than stepping right onto the course

to begin your round,” Dr. Stephenson said.

Knee Injuries

Golfing and walking along uneven surfaces on

a golf course can pose a hazard to knees.

“Those potential hazards are the twisting and

turning that can lead to meniscus tears in the

knee,” Dr. Stephenson said.

Injury prevention measures: Be mindful of

where you are stepping on the course and make

sure you have good swing mechanics in place. If

you’re not so sure about your swing, enlist the

help of a golf professional to help you perfect

your swing.

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