From Swing to Sling: A Guide to Prevent Common Golf Wrist Injuries
Golf is in full swing. Taking your game to the next level this season will require a lot of practice, patience, and skill. And like any other sport, golf also comes with its own set of risks and potential injuries. The most common injuries that golfers will experience are wrist injuries.
In the blog post below, Orthopaedic Hospital of Wisconsin physical therapist Matt Pitton, PT, DPT, OCS, ATC, COMT, discusses the causes of golfing wrist injuries, how to prevent them, and how to treat them if they occur. Following these tips may even improve your driving distance!
Wrist Injuries and Golf
The wrist is a crucial part of the golf swing. It is responsible for generating power and control during the swing. Repetitive motion, overuse, and poor technique can contribute to hand, wrist, and elbow injuries in golf.
The most common upper extremity injuries in golf include:
- Medial Epicondylitis of the Elbow – The medial epicondyle is the inside (medial) part of your elbow. Certain wrist muscles attach to this part of the bone and repetitive use of your wrist flexor muscles can create inflammation at this attachment.
- Wrist Tendonitis – Multiple wrist muscles are working to stabilize the club shaft and quick movement through a full range of motion to maximize club head speed. Repetitive swings, especially early in the season when your wrist muscles are not used to high volume, can lead to overuse in these muscles and cause tendonitis.
- Wrist Sprain – The ligaments in your wrist help stabilize and support the eight small bones that make up your wrist. Swinging and hitting the hard ground (or a tree stump) can sprain one of these wrist ligaments.
- Hand Fracture – Similar to a wrist sprain, high velocity with impact can cause increased force in your hand/wrist bones. The hamate bone in your hand is the most common site of this force/impact when golfing.
Treatment of these conditions varies on how recently they have occurred and how much the pain impacts your daily life. Depending on the severity of the injury, treatment options may include rest, ice, compression, and physical therapy. In more severe cases, surgery by an orthopedic surgeon may be necessary.
Here are some tips to prevent injury and ensure the good health of your hands, wrists, and elbows:
- Complete a Proper Warm-Up -Start slowly and make sure your body can warm up to the physical demands of golf. Start practicing with light irons and work up to the driver/woods progressing from shorter swings to increased length and intensity.
- Perform Static and Dynamic Golf Stretches – Stay flexible by stretching the major muscle groups used in golf, including the hips, shoulders, back, legs, hands, and wrists. Dynamic stretches that mimic the movements you’ll use during your golf swing can be especially effective.
Examples of Wrist Golf Stretches and Movements Include:
- Wrist Flexion Stretch
- Wrist Extension Stretch
- Club Forearm Pronation/Supination
- Club wrist Radial/Ulnar Deviation
- Strengthen Your Arms Off the Course – Training while off the course through grip strength and other resistance training can help you build wrist strength and improve your swing. Remember to start with lighter weights or resistance bands and gradually increase as your strength improves.
- Review Swing Mechanics – Take some practice swings with your golf club. Keep feet shoulder width apart, don’t overswing with the backswing, and utilize core muscles and legs to power the shot.
If you experience a wrist injury, seek medical attention promptly to ensure a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. The team at Orthopaedic Hospital of Wisconsin is here to assist. With the proper care and attention, you can get back on the course and continue to enjoy the game of golf.
To make an appointment with a physical therapist or physician, go online or call (414) 961-6800.