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Common Golf Injuries and How They Can Treated at a Sports Injury Clinic

Injuries in golf may seem less likely than in a fast paced or contact sport like football or basketball. However, to be good at the game, golf players need to practice regularly and develop a powerful, consistent swing. This means performing repetitive motions that can put added stress on the body, which can lead to chronic injuries due to overuse.

Unlike acute golf injuries that a player can get from an accident on the course, chronic injuries to the shoulder, spine, hips, and wrists from the overuse of muscles or improper techniques may come on as a nagging pain that grows worse over time and adversely affects the fun of playing.

Golfers in Portland, Oregon who are experiencing unexplained or undiagnosed golf related pain can go to a sports injury clinic like Sports Health Northwest to get a proper diagnosis, treatment, and get back on the course. As specialists who are highly trained in sports-related injuries, sports doctors can provide the necessary treatment for a wide range of injuries.

Common golf injuries and potential treatments in a sports injury clinic

These are three of the most common injuries one can get from playing golf and how they may be treated:

  1. Back pain

Sports and sprains often go hand in hand, and golf is no exception. During a swing, the player rotates their body and arms from a golf stance, putting considerable stress on the upper, mid, and lower back. As this stance and the resulting backswing and downswing motion is repeatedly done for hours a day, several days a week, the coiled and kinetic energy generated through the spine can lead to lower back muscle strains, ligament sprains, and inflammation, which causes pain, affects the swing, and may gradually spread to the rest of the spine.

Common traditional treatments for this type of injury include, medications, steroid and non-steroid injections, sport specific exercises, as well as, physical therapy. In most cases, surgery and painful procedures can be avoided. Breakthroughs in regenerative medicine have led to revolutionary therapies that go straight to the source of injury with fewer expected side effects or complications than traditional treatments.

As part of preventive care, a sports medicine doctor may also recommend sport specific swing modifications and support your work with a golf pro to enhance your enjoyment of the game and reduce the risk of injury

  1. Golfer’s elbow and tennis elbow

Golfer’s elbow is a type of tendon injury/tendonitis in the elbow that has been associated with sudden deceleration of the club at impact from taking to much divot or hitting a hard object like a tree root under the ball that exerts force on the club and injures the forearm muscles and tendon near the elbow.  It can also be related to chronic overuse and gripping activity affecting the inner elbow tendon. A similar condition, tennis elbow, is an injury to the outer elbow tendon, and despite the name, this condition also often afflicts golfers. The repetitive movements involved in hitting golf balls and gripping a club can increase stress on the affected tendons, leading to inflammation.

Age can increase the risk of getting tendonitis, particularly in people who do repetitive movements. An improper swing motion can also add to the risk.

Treating this injury may involve temporarily resting the affected tendon, utilizing appropriate strengthening and sport specific exercises, topical or oral medication, and at times physical therapy. A sports doctor who provides regenerative treatment may also recommend ultrasound-guided treatments, such as a PRP injection or TENEX, a minimally invasive procedure that makes use of a percutaneous device to cut and remove a damaged tissue without risking damage to the surrounding tissues. These procedures have been found to relieve pain faster than traditional treatments and repair damaged tissues effectively.  They can be cost effective and can help get you back to enjoying golf and other activities quickly.

  1. Rotator cuff injury

The rotator cuff is a group of four muscles and tendons that support and protect the shoulder joints.  The shoulder has an important role in helping position the hand for controlled movement.  The rotator cuff muscles help provide shoulder stability. When exposed to repetitive trauma, which can come from repetitive golf swings or a poor swinging technique, the rotator cuff tissues can get damaged and cause pain on the shoulder or upper arm.

Traditional treatments for rotator cuff injury include anti-inflammatory drugs or even surgery. However, newer ultrasound-guided, minimally invasive treatments such as TENEX and even PRP injections offer long-lasting solutions without the risks associated with surgeries or pain medications. Case studies detailing the application of these treatments can be found here.

Golfers in Portland, Oregon who are suffering from injury can call Sports Health Northwest and learn more about the breakthrough treatments they provide.

Dr Westerdahl David Westerdahl MD FAAFP RMSK Sports Medicine Physician and owner Sports Health Northwest, Inc.

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