The game of golf has a reputation for being slow, deliberately careful and so non-violent. But many injuries occur when playing golf. Generally, these are repetitive use injuries that occur by repeating the same motion over and over until wear and tear gradually result in some type of injury.
Here is a list of three common injuries that golfers sustain playing the grand old game and some reasons that they occur.
- Rotator cuff tear
- Golfer’s elbow
- Hook of hamate fracture
Rotator Cuff Tear
The rotator cuff is the name given to a group of muscles and tendons that support the shoulder, basically holding the joint into place. The reason this is necessary is that the socket of the shoulder joint is not an all-encompassing structure; it is a shallow dish-shaped bone that has evolved because the shoulder is given a wide range of motion. The knee or the elbow (and many other joints) bend in only one direction, while the shoulder is relatively freewheeling owing to the structure of the joint.
A rotator cuff tear can be debilitating, causing severe pain when you try to lift your arm, especially if you try to lift your arm above your head. That is where the problem begins. A rotator cuff tear, it follows, mostly afflicts people who work repetitively above their heads, such as painters, sheet-rock installers, or carpenters. It is also common among baseball players, tennis players and swimmers.
Once diagnosed, treatment usually starts with rest, putting ice or heat compresses on the shoulder and physical therapy designed to stretch the tendons and get them to relax. More involved treatment includes injections to help mitigate pain.
There are also a variety of surgical options for severe rotator cuff injuries, including arthroscopic tendon repair and open tendon repair, which is more invasive, requiring a longer surgical opening.
Golfer’s elbow is not restricted to golfers and maybe more commonly known as tennis elbow. But it’s not restricted to just golfers and tennis players. It is associated with any activity that includes repeated striking of something by extending your forearm. As such, you can develop tennis elbow while roofing a house, as the many hammering motions can bring on this condition.
Golfer’s elbow is an affliction of a tendon but is mostly felt on the bony protrusion of your elbow or this area plus the upper portion of your forearm. While the injury is sustained by many relatively mild concussive strikes with the forearm (a golf ball or a tennis ball is not very heavy, after all), it can be very painful once you reach the threshold, and the injury develops.
Treatment of golfer’s elbow includes taking time off from golf for a while to allow the tendon to heal. Frequently, ice compacts are used to reduce pain.
A conveniently placed brace – a band – is often deployed. This is positioned just under the elbow, and it re-positions the tendon, so it no longer sustains impact when you use it. This can be very effective.
Also, physical therapy, pain management, and other techniques are used. Rarely does this condition require surgery to correct, in part because it becomes too painful to repeat the motion and forces people to stop the painful activity and to give the area time to heal.
Hook of Hamate Fracture
The hook of hamate is a bone. It is the carpal bone at the base of the pinky or little finger on the outside portion of your wrist. A fracture of this bone can be defined as a broken wrist.
The fracture can develop from a sudden trauma or from repeatedly striking an object, such as a golf ball, with the same motion over and over. The pain can come on suddenly and result in the inability to grip tightly to an object.
Once diagnosed with an X-ray or a CT Scan, a fractured wrist is often treated with a brace or a cast to restrict or stabilize movement. Pain management may also be required when the injury first occurs. Surgery is usually not needed.