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Golf has seen a massive surge in popularity with the number of players in the UK nearly doubling in just 4 years. As with all sports though, golf comes its own set of problems and the more you look at the movements involved the more you understand why injuries are rather common. Here we will look at just a few problems and what we can do to help with these issues. 

Tennis Elbow and Golfer’s Elbow 

Funnily enough, you don’t need to be a keen player of either sports to suffer with the conditions and even more strange is the fact that more golfers suffer with tennis elbow than they do of golfer’s elbow! These conditions are the irritation and inflammation of the tendons of the outer elbow (tennis elbow or lateral epicondylitis) and inner elbow (golfer’s elbow or medial epicondylitis). This occurs due to the overuse in the tendons involved which leave them feeling very sore and tender and slow down their ability to properly repair. Another potential cause is striking the ground on the way through to striking the ball which can contribute to inner elbow pain and over-extending the swing, which can contribute to outer elbow pain. 
Prevention is always better than cure so it’s important to play with proper form and not overuse the tendons. If any pain begins to become apparent always listen to your body and take a break. A good stretching routine is essential. Treatment of the tendons is very common and easy although obviously frustrating if you have to stop playing. Focusing on reducing inflammation is the best course of action, and exercises would be prescribed in order to stretch and strengthen the muscles and tendons involved in swinging so they are able to handle the stresses placed on them. 

Back Pain 

Lower (lumbar) back pain is probably the most common issue from playing and practicing, and upper back (thoracic) pain between the shoulder blades is also very common. The back is used a lot during golf, from the swinging of the club through to carrying the bag of clubs, and even the stance affecting it - so it’s really no surprise that back pain is one of the most common complaints. Your dominant side will also likely develop the worst pain on the same side of the lower back. Using correct form and posture in the swing is vital in avoiding back pain as much as possible, as is picking up and carrying the bag around. Small things make the big difference! It’s a good idea to take up some sort of a stretching program in order to maintain posture. Stretching out the traps and pecs is often overlooked. 

Wrist Tendinitis 

The tendons in the wrist commonly become inflamed in golfers. This can cause serious problems which affect the ability to hold the club, and can even prevent holding it at all. One of the most common forms is de quervains tenosynovitis. This painful condition occurs in the 2 tendons at the base of the thumb, causing them to swell. The swelling causes the sheaths on the tendons to become inflamed, which puts pressure on the nerves causing pain and numbness along the thumb and index finger. This then causes difficulty in gripping and pinching movements and a “sticking” sensation in the thumb on movement. 

What To Do About These Problems 

Prevention is always preferable to cure. A great place to start would be with a few lessons from a teacher to understand correct swing technique. Learning correct technique, as in any sport, is vital to avoid poor form and unnecessary injuries in the first place. A good stretching plan that runs through all the muscles used and focuses on technique is vital. Stretching should take place not just before activity but afterwards as well. Incorporating a foam roller in to the plan is a good way to change it up. 
Focusing on strengthening muscles involved in swinging and posture and also flexibility would be a good plan for any newcomers and veterans of the sport. If you are unfortunate enough to already be suffering from injuries, then if you haven’t already then it would be a good idea to take a break. At least a few days out to assess and treat an injury is a must. It’s important to get a professional opinion on what the injury may be. 
Depending on what the injury is, the treatment may differ slightly. For example in the case of elbow tendinitis you may be advised to follow the RICE procedure (Rest,Ice,Compression,Elevation) because this will help to stop further injury and reduce swelling of the inflamed tendons. 
Not quite the easy walk in the park it may seem at first! 
We treat many golfers with varying problems. Contact us today if you would like any further advice on injury prevention or would benefit from a sports massage to ease those aches and pains. 
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