Golf – A most peculiar sport
Injuries that affect a golfer’s elbow can lead to a long lay off from the game.
Problems that occur in places like the lower back can feel more expected. But the elbow seems an unusual place to get injured.
However, golf is a truly unique sport. And it places enormous forces on certain parts of the body.
Furthermore, when you are trying to generate maximum power in combination with precision control, you can run into problems.
We look at what problems can affect the elbow. And look at measures you can take to minimise your risk of injury.
Golfer’s Elbow Injuries – How are they caused?
Broadly speaking there are 3 main ways that you are going to get injured in golf.
- Putting too much force on body parts due to poor technique
- Overuse injuries that are caused by repetitive strain and lead to inflammation
- Acute injuries from a single strike when hitting an obstacle like a tree root
There are two main elbow injuries that affect golfers. They are known as Lateral and Medial Epicondylitis. Despite having very technical sounding names, they are quite straight-forward. They simply refer to the swelling of tendons either on the outside or inside of the elbow.
The term Golfer’s elbow refers to issues with the inside of the elbow. But, ironically issues with the lateral (outside) of the elbow are more common. Let’s look at what can be done to minimise the risk of them hampering your game.
Steps to prevent injuries to the elbow
- Having the wrong size grip on your club can cause havoc over time. You need a comfortable and appropriate grip to stop any unnecessary rotation of the club handle in your hands. Also, a grip that is too large can mean that you need to apply too much force to keep the club steady. If you haven’t done so in a while, get a pro to check and see if your grip is appropriate for you.
- Don’t skip or neglect to do a warm up. Other sports seem like more serious contenders for warm-ups. But although the exertion is more intermittent in golf, the body, and the joints in particular still need to be prepared. Two or three practice swings on the first tee won’t cut it. Spend 10-15 minutes progressively warming up your swing on the range. It is worth its weight in gold. This should be followed by some simple stretches.
- Invest some time and energy into conditioning. You don’t have to be a world class athlete to play golf. However, doing even a little bit of strength and conditioning work away from the course will pay dividends. In particular, it is useful to work on improving the core muscles of your trunk. Pilates and Yoga can both be particularly useful for this.
- Refine your technique. Poor technique is one of the leading cause of injuries. If you haven’t had coaching recently, it might be time to book a couple of 1-2-1 sessions. A qualified coach will pick up on any nasty little habits you’ve picked up in your game.
A final word
If you have any injury concerns or would like tips on advice on great stretches for golf, please contact us, we’ll be happy to help.