Previously, we discussed how to prevent common golf injuries, but what do you do if you’re already injured? In many cases, golf injuries can be resolved with conservative, nonsurgical treatment options. Follow these tips, and you will be back on the course in no time!
What to Do If You Are Injured
Golfers commonly injure their backs, shoulders, wrists, and elbows. If you are experiencing any pain in those areas, you should see a healthcare professional to get an accurate diagnosis of the problem before starting any treatment program. However, this guide should give you an idea of what to expect. Here are some of the most common golf injuries, and how they are typically treated.
Medial Epicondylitis (Golfer’s Elbow)
Golfer’s elbow is often the result of overuse. Conservative treatment is often quite effective in relieving the symptoms of this condition. You will likely need to rest for at least a few weeks. Try to apply an ice pack three to four times a day for 15 to 20 minutes at a time. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) are often recommended to help with pain, and a corticosteroid injection may help with inflammation. Your doctor may suggest exercises that help to strengthen the forearm. A splint or strap helps to support your forearm and can prevent pulling on the injured tendon.
Bulging and Herniated Discs
Bulging and herniated discs often occur in a golfer’s lower back, although they can occur in the neck, as is the case with pro golfer Jason Dufner. Though bulging discs are different from herniated discs, nonsurgical treatment for these conditions is similar. Those with bulging or herniated discs are often advised to avoid activities that cause pain until they have healed. Conservative treatment options include over-the-counter pain medications and muscle relaxers. If pain does not improve with over-the-counter medication, your doctor may prescribe a stronger pain medication or a medication to relieve pain from nerve damage. Your doctor may administer a cortisone injection directly into the injured area to help reduce inflammation. Physical therapy can also be helpful in minimizing pain.
The most commonly injured area in the shoulder is the rotator cuff. Rest, anti-inflammatory medications, and cortisone injections may be used to treat rotator cuff injuries. Physical therapy and strengthening exercises are often recommended to help restore function in the shoulder. If pain and function does not improve with nonsurgical treatment, however, surgery is generally recommended.
Golfing with an Injury
If you suspect you have an injury, you should get checked out by a doctor as soon as possible. Unless your doctor okays it, it is generally not advisable to play while you are injured. You may be tempted to try to play through your injury, but playing with an injury can cause further damage.
If your injury is related to a poor swinging technique, you may also want to consider taking lessons to improve your swing and lessen your chances of further injury. If you work with your doctor and stick to the treatment plan, you will be more likely to return to the golf course pain-free.