Stay healthy on the links this spring

Missouri Orthopedics & Sports Medicine has tips to keep you injury-free on the golf course this season.

Golfers, rejoice! The warmer weather is creeping into the forecast on a more regular basis and that can mean only one thing: it’s time to hit the links.

Golf. A relaxing sport that doesn’t require you to be in tip-top shape to play it. It’s also a sport that you can get easily hurt playing, which comes as a surprise to many players.

So what kind of injuries are we talking about? According to Golf.About.com, the common injuries are back pain, tennis (or golfer’s elbow) and shoulder pain.

Imagine yourself on the tee box of a 500-yard, par-5 hole. There are no doglegs; it’s as straight as an arrow. Of course, you pull out the driver and you’re looking to send the ball to the moon with the hardest swing imaginable.

Before you take the ill-advised “hardest swing of your life” shot, you’re at risk of a back injury. Simply hunching over the ball at address before pulling the club back is putting a strain on your back. This repetitive move, which occurs likely more than 70 times through 18 holes, is damaging your back. It’s important to stretch before each round and in between shots to keep your back loose so it doesn’t tighten up and cause a serious back injury.

Back to the tee box.

You’re pulling your club back with all intentions of hitting it 300 yards. You swing as mightily as you can. Regardless of where your ball goes, 300 yards or 10 feet away, straight or into the woods, you’re putting yourself at risk of developing an injury.

This injury could be “golfer’s elbow,” which is inflammation, soreness or pain on the inside of the upper arm near the elbow, or shoulder pain, which could be the cause of rotator cuff tendinitis, impingement or tear.

It’s time to go find your ball now that you’ve hit it.

It landed in a fairway bunker and you’re 250 yards away from the hole. You decide to play it safe and chip it out of the bunker.

You end up chunking the shot in the bunker when your swing comes to a halt as your club sinks into the sand. You feel the jolt go from the club through your wrists which not could have a fracture or an injured tendon.

You think to yourself, “at least I’m out of the bunker.” Well, your ball is out of the bunker now that you’ve hit it, but it’s your turn to physically get out of the bunker. You take a step up to the edge of the grass to get out of the sand. You pull yourself out, but notice a little twinge in your knee as you regain your balance.

You’ve taken only two shots so far in your round and look at the number of chances you could have been hurt. See, golf really can be dangerous – without having to dodge errant golf balls from golfers on another tee box.

If you’re sore or begin to feel pain during a round of golf, you should stop playing and seek medical attention. At Missouri Orthopedics & Advanced Sports Medicine, our services include knee, shoulder, and elbow arthroscopy as well as total joint replacement. Click here to contact us if you suffer from pain after playing golf or any sport.

More information: http://golf.about.com/od/fitnesshealth/tp/commoninjuries.htm